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Students and staff at University of Wisconsin-Stout hope to shine a light for two days in March on the issue of genocide.
UW-Stout will hold the Tents of Witness: Genocide and Conflict project Monday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Tuesday, March 25, from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.
Tents representing genocide in six countries and regions — Native Americans, the Holocaust, North Korea, Rwanda, Argentina and Cambodia — will be on display in the Great Hall each day.
Self-guided tours, including for groups or classes, are encouraged. Staff members from the World Without Genocide Project will be on hand to answer questions. The event is free and open to the public. Parking in UW-Stout lots is free after 4 p.m.
In addition to the tent tours, at 7 p.m. Monday in the Great Hall, the film "Ghosts of Rwanda" will be shown.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Great Hall, Ellen Kennedy, executive director of the World Without Genocide Project, will present "Cell Phones, Child Soldiers and Conflict in Congo."
After working with women and children during the Rwandan genocide, Kennedy was asked by a student what she was going to do about the problem, leading her to establish the project.
Several UW-Stout departments and offices have collaborated to present the World Without Genocide Project, which is housed at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.
The mission of the World Without Genocide Project is to protect innocent people around the world; prevent genocide by combating racism and prejudice; advocate for the prosecution of perpetrators; and remember those whose lives and cultures have been destroyed by violence.
Amy Geislinger, of Woodbury, Minn., lead student coordinator for the tent display, said genocide has been part of human history for centuries. "Why haven't we learned from the past?" said Geislinger, a junior who is majoring in human development and family studies.
Geislinger hopes students and community members will benefit from the project by being more aware of the needs of refugees in neighborhoods and communities.
"Atrocities like these genocides are still happening today. We need to learn about them and learn from history to stop genocide," she said.
Campus sponsors of the event include the psychology department; Center for Applied Ethics; and Ally Initiatives for Civil Rights and Civic Responsibility.
For more information about the project, contact the Involvement Center at UW-Stout, 715-232-1772 or email Geislinger; Elizabeth Buchanan, director of the Center for Applied Ethics; or Mary McManus, assistant director of the Memorial Student Center.