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Spielberg Launches Center for Genocide Research

By: JTA

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is establishing a Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California.

The formation of the new center was announced in a press conference Friday. Its primary goals will be to investigate the conditions leading to genocides and how to intervene in time to prevent such mass violence and slaughter.

Spielberg founded what is now the USC Shoah Foundation 20 years ago following release of his Oscar-winning movie, “Schindler’s List.” “The USC Shoah Foundation has made tremendous progress during its first 20 years, but its work is far from finished,” Spielberg said in a statement, noting the 52,000 testimonies it has gathered and the educational programs it has launched.

“Now comes the next significant chapter, one that establishes the Institute as one of the leading academic centers of excellence for the study of the Holocaust and genocides,” he said. “The potential is there for groundbreaking research.”

The Shoah Foundation’s testimonies deal primarily with the Holocaust but also include eyewitness accounts of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide and the 1937 Nanjing massacre.

Material on the Armenian and Cambodian genocides will be added to the archives this year.

USC history professor Wolf Gruner will serve as director of the new center. Its first major conference, “Media, Memory and Technology: Exploring the Trajectories of ‘Schindler’s List’” will be held in November 2014.

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