A joint project of the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights (CLIHHR) and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR)

The focus of this joint project is on the role of public and mental health in mass atrocity prevention (that is, large scale and deliberate attacks on civilians, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide). This multi-year initiative will begin to build a body of knowledge, culminating in an edited volume, on how public and mental health policies and practices (that is, actions meant to protect and promote the health of entire societies, and that employ multidisciplinary interventions to address the underlying causes of health and disease) can aid in lowering recidivism of past abuses and the prevention of mass atrocity.

The prevention of mass atrocity may be viewed in cyclical waves:  primary (pre-conflict), secondary (mid-conflict), and tertiary (post-conflict).  Though ideally the identification of risk factors and accelerants would allow the primary prevention of large-scale violence, when opportunities for prevention are lower in cost and risk, efforts mid- and post-conflict may be leveraged to prevent further harm to individuals and targeted populations.  The factors that set societies at risk for, and recovery from, atrocity straddle layers of social analysis and include issues related to governance, conflict history, economic conditions, and social fragmentation. Thus, by necessity, the field of mass atrocity prevention is interdisciplinary and requires, for its timely and sustainable success, the cooperation of civil society and government actors at national and international levels.

As it addresses the prevention of health harms at a population level, a public and mental health focus lends itself naturally to assisting in the prevention of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Despite their intuitive overlap, however, the concurrence of these fields remains understudied.  Public health, itself, has focused largely on the prevention of physical disease and has mostly responded to humanitarian disasters once they occur (secondary or tertiary prevention).  Yet, the field’s historical and disciplinary strength is that it paradigmatically emphasizes and understands the importance and dynamics of a preventive lens; thus, there is ample room for adapting frameworks for public health prevention (e.g. practitioners, tools, programs, institutions) to the atrocity prevention field. Similarly, the field of mental health (which works toward the promotion, protection and restoration of the emotional, psychological and social wellbeing of individuals) offers a vital role in the primary prevention of violence and trauma, and in the healing of both individuals and communities that have experienced mass atrocity in an effort to prevent recurrence. We are particularly interested in submissions that address mass atrocity prevention through the framework of primary (pre-conflict), secondary (mid-conflict), and/or tertiary (post-conflict) settings. 

The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday, January 22, 2018.  Submitters of accepted abstracts will be invited to an onsite workshop at Cardozo Law Institute in New York City in the Spring of 2018.

How to Submit:

❏   Please submit a single word document to Susan Braden at cardozo.clihhr@yu.edu that includes the following:

❏   Working Title

❏   Abstract of no more than 250 words

❏   State of prevention the work addresses (i.e. primary-, secondary-, tertiary-conflict)

❏   Author Information (including: position, affiliation, mailing address, phone number and email)

❏   A brief biography, of no more than 50 words, for each contributing Author

❏   Please save filename as:  AuthorName_ShortFormTitle (e.g. RLemkin_DefiningGenocideforPolicyMakers)

For further information about the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, please visit the AIPR website

For questions, please contact the Managing Editors at cardozo.clihhr@yu.edu

We look forward to receiving your manuscripts and to your active participation in the project!

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum, JD, MPH
Telford Taylor Visiting Clinical Professor of Law  
Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic
Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law                                

Caitlin O. Mahoney, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Metropolitan State University

Amy E. Meade, Ph.D.
Clinical Faculty, Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital

James E. Waller, Ph.D. 
Cohen Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Keene State College