USC establishes genocide study center

Director Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation, and USC President C.L. Max Nikias head to an event to announce an initiative that will examine how and why genocides occur, and explore new methods of intervention and prevention.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The USC Shoah Foundation will expand its study of genocide by establishing a new center devoted to the study of mass killings and how such violent incidents begin, officials announced Friday.

The foundation was started by film director Steven Spielberg on the set of his film “Schindler’s List” and became part of USC in 2006. The foundation has collected more than 52,000 eyewitness testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust, Rwandan genocide and Nanjing Massacre.

The new group, called the Center for Advanced Genocide Research, will focus on resistance to mass killings and how the violence impacts emotional and physical behavior. The center will also study data to find patterns in genocides.


“There’s so much to be learned from the 52,000 survivor testimonies,” said Spielberg, who donated all his profits from “Schindler’s List” to groups including the Shoah Foundation but who will not be contributing financially to the new center.

The center, which is now open, will be funded by the Shoah Foundation and USC during its first year.

Researchers can apply for both short and long term fellowships at the center.


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