Genocide and the violent history of our world’s past will be confronted, researched, and expanded upon by individuals from all over as UC Davis prepares the next generation of human rights leaders.

Mass Atrocity and Genocide Studies

Empowering the next generation to confront the legacies of genocide and atrocity

The study of genocide and mass atrocities for a better future

Arda’s great-grandparents immigrated to Fresno after the Armenian Genocide. Sam, her fellow Human Rights Studies major, moved to Los Angeles as a child to flee violence in Chile. Their family histories draw both to spend a quarter abroad in Germany, where they study museum-based Holocaust memorials. Once back in Davis, they decide to collaborate on an exhibit about California refugee communities with the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Their work inspires a group of local educators to enroll in a summer human rights institute at UC Davis, where they partner with other teachers and students in developing course materials and teaching tools that ultimately reshape the California high school history curriculum — and serve as a nationwide model for teaching about genocide. 

Future human rights leaders like Arda and Sam will change how the world understands genocide and mass atrocity, inspiring communities to learn from past violence so as not to repeat it. Building on UC Davis’ deep faculty expertise — including internationally recognized experts on the Holocaust, Armenian Genocide and Latin American dictatorships — the Mass Atrocity and Genocide Studies Center will empower students and educators to advocate for justice and democratic stability by working directly with communities of survivors in California and beyond. Teaching will be at the heart of the center’s work, with a focus on experiential learning opportunities and tools that both prepare students to confront the legacies of violence and help educators teach effectively about human rights, atrocity and memory.

Prepare the next generation of human rights leaders

  • Endow chairs in genocide studies and transitional justice and create faculty positions in human rights studies
  • Build a marquee internship program that prepares the next generation of human rights leaders
  • Create graduate scholarships and research fellowships that attract top students
  • Establish a robust practitioners-in-residence program
  • Provide seed funding for a world-class summer institute for training educators 


UC Davis is committed to educational empowerment as a path forward in understanding and preventing genocide and mass atrocity. We invite the partnership of our alumni and friends in creating a center that will have a lasting impact in California, the United States and the world.