This summer, I had the privilege of interning at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This was quite simply the perfect job for me – I got to work on early warning forecasting, write case studies about U.S. atrocity prevention policy, and learn how to confront genocide through research and policy.
I ended up publishing a piece in Just Security on questions in U.S. presidential debates about how to respond to mass atrocities, with some advice for the 2020 candidates. I am so grateful for the support of my team at the Simon-Skjodt Center. Never stop asking why!
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
In July, I attended the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) conference in Cambodia. Not only did I have the chance to enter conversations about contemporary issues in genocide studies, but also to work with outstanding student volunteers at the American University of Phnom Penh to help run the conference. Read more about my experience on USHMM’s Preventing Genocide Blog.
Me and my mentor, Dr. Hollie Nyseth Brehm, at IAGS 2019
With the support of a Migration, Mobility, and Immobility (MMI) Project grant from the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme, I undertook a photography project in Phnom Penh. I focused on two sites – the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek – seeking to better understand the memorialization of Khmer Rouge atrocities.
The memorial stupa at the Killing Fields. Photo Credit: Jamie Wise
Upon reflection, it has been my experience that studying genocide means continually facing the worst of humanity, while ceaselessly believing there’s reason to hope. But I think Anne Frank put it best:
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”