POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-Mark Hanis, founder and executive director of the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-NET), will give a lecture addressing genocide in Darfur on Monday, April 27, on the second floor of the Students' Building. His presentation will begin at 5:30 pm, and is free and open to the public.
"You're willing to help someone if they're in the same room as you. Why does 3,000 miles remove . . . that responsibility?" Hanis told the Christian Science Monitor in 2007.
Hanis launched the Genocide Intervention Network in 2004, taking on the responsibility of helping African Union soldiers who were protecting Sudanese civilians from violence. At that time, Union peacekeepers faced a shortage of money, and were going from aid group to aid group looking for funding.
GI-NET successfully lobbied Congress to fund the peacekeepers in Darfur. Hanis' organization also successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which allows state and local governments to cut investment ties with companies doing business in Sudan, and aims to pressure Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.
From humble beginnings sharing a basement apartment and working in a run-down borrowed office near the White House, Hanis has built GI-NET into a thriving non-profit with 10,000 members and a $3 million budget.
Hanis, born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, graduated from Swarthmore College in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in public policy.
Members of the planning committee at Vassar explained that "We've recently started a chapter of STAND: Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, and we hope that this, along with bringing Mark Hanis to campus, will be a call to action for students to get involved in ending genocide. Students have been the driving force behind United States action in Darfur, and we are responsible for continuing that work. As Hanis will emphasize, we believe that we have a responsibility to protect from genocide citizens whose governments are unable or unwilling to protect them."
The sponsors for this event are the Vassar Political Studies Department and the student organizations, Vassar Jewish Union and STAND.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.