Talk will explore ties between racial injustice, genocide prevention


A United Nations special adviser and undersecretary-general on the prevention of genocide will examine the connections between racial injustice and genocide during a lecture presented by U-M’s Donia Human Rights Center.

Alice Wairimu Nderitu, a leading voice in the field of peacebuilding and violence prevention, will speak at 4 p.m. Jan. 25 in Room 1040 of the LSA Building.

Alice Wairimu Nderitu

Nderitu is known for her dedication to social justice, human rights and peace. She has served as a mediator and senior adviser in reconciliation processes among communities in her country of Kenya, as well as in other African settings.

Steven Ratner, Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law and director of the Donia Human Rights Center, said Nderitu will bring an important global perspective on racial justice to U-M’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.

“To look at racism globally and the worst of what it can turn into, which is genocide, and to explore how to combat it globally is something that is very much in line with the legacy of Dr. King,” he said.   

Nderitu’s lecture is tentatively titled, “Racial Injustice: Global Challenges and Opportunities for the Prevention of Genocide.”

Nderitu was appointed a U.N. undersecretary-general and special adviser on the prevention of genocide in 2020 and is part of the U.N.’s senior leadership in New York. She has received several awards for her commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts throughout Africa and innovative approaches to mediation.

Her past leadership experience includes serving as the commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in Kenya from 2009-13. She is a founding member and co-chair of the prevention agency Uwiano Platform for Peace and a founder of Community Voices for Peace and Pluralism, a network of African women professionals dedicated to preventing, transforming and solving violent, ethnic, racial and religious conflicts worldwide. 

She previously served as director of the Education for Social Justice at Fahamu, head of the Human Rights Education and Capacity-Building Programme for the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and its predecessor body, and researcher and administrator for Kenya Prisons Services in Ministry of Home Affairs.

Nderitu is a member of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and all Forms of Discrimination, the African Union’s Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (Fem-Wise), and the Women Waging Peace Network. 

She has a master of armed conflict and peace studies degree and a Bachelor of Arts in literature and philosophy from the University of Nairobi, as well as an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Keene State College. In addition, she is a Transitional Justice Fellow with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa.

The Donia Human Rights Center, which is part of LSA, serves as a forum for intellectual exchange on human rights issues among scholars, practitioners, students and the public.


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