USC Shoah Foundation Leads Panel at Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 5:00pm

USC Shoah Foundation and its colleagues at the United Nations came together to host a panel discussion at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict today in London, joining leaders and advocates from around the world to raise awareness of sexual violence in conflict zones and wartime.

The summit is co-chaired by the UN Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, at ExCel London, June 10-12. It is the largest event ever convened on the subject of sexual violence in conflict. It includes panel discussions, film screenings, interactive workshops and more in order to create irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict and practical action that impacts those on the ground.

The panel “Breaking History's Greatest Silence: The Importance of Testimony and Remembrance in Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict” was co-hosted by USC Shoah Foundation and the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

It was moderated by USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith. The panelists were Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Andi Gitow, Executive Producer, UN Television; Karen Jungblut, Director of Research and Documentation, USC Shoah Foundation; and Mukesh Kapila, Professor of Health and Global Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester.

The panelists discussed the importance of gathering testimonies not only to document atrocities and bring perpetrators to justice, but also to give voice to survivors and drive policy changes on the ground. The discussion included the implications and challenges of survivor, witness and perpetrator testimonies, the process of gathering testimony, and the potential role it can play in advocacy and intervention.

Bangura spoke at USC in February about sexual violence in war and Gitow recently completed a four-month sabbatical as a visiting scholar at the USC Shoah Foundation. Kapila is also Special Representative for the prevention of crimes against humanity at Aegis Trust, which works closely with the USC Shoah Foundation to collect and preserve testimony of Rwandan Tutsi Genocide survivors.