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Mass Atrocities: Could it happen in the US?

April 6 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Online, N/A, Portland, OR 97207

Please join us in welcoming Dr. James Waller to Portland via Zoom, where he will be presenting his world recognized research on Atrocity Prevention, and will be sharing findings from his recent report on risks in the United States, published through the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. Through his work with the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass atrocities, Dr. Waller has identified categories of risk that have particular significance in our current social and political landscape.

Mike Brand and Jessica Murrey will respond to Dr. Waller’s presentation, engaging questions and conversation from their unique perspectives in atrocity prevention, policy making, and peacebuilding.

This event is co-sponsored by OJMCHE, Never Again Coalition, PSU’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies Project, WorldOregon, The Immigrant Story, Oregon Historical Society and First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Dr. James Waller is the inaugural Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH), home to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Waller also serves as the Director of Academic Programs with the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, as the curriculum developer and lead instructor for the Raphael Lemkin Seminars for Genocide Prevention. Waller’s research on perpetrators of genocide is detailed in “Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing” (Oxford University Press, 2002). His research on perpetrator behavior also is featured in Eduardo Rufeisen’s award-winning documentary “The Evil Within” (2016), and in “Confronting Evil: Engaging Our Responsibility to Prevent Genocide” (Oxford University Press, 2016). His newest book, “A Troubled Sleep: Risk and Resilience in Contemporary Northern Ireland,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2021.

Jessica Murrey is an awarding-winning communications specialist, Common Ground Activist, and story game designer. She is the CEO/Co-founder of W!CKED SAiNTS Studios, a media company designing crazy fun interactive story games that happen to prompt behavior change and real-world action. At age 24, she received a Northwest Regional Emmy for Community Service for her lead role in “Don’t Turn Away,” an anti-child abuse media campaign. Months later, her PSA “Meth Mirror” won the Oregon Association of Broadcasters’ Award for “Best PSA 2012.” Jess then spent years running the global communication department for Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest dedicated peacebuilding organization. Utilizing the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated NGO’s experience, Jess trains young leaders in some of the most hostile places on earth in Social Change Communication. She uses what she’s coined the “Tattoo Method” to design creative campaigns and activities that have the power to shift people’s attitudes and behaviors. She has used the framework in collaboration with local peacebuilders to develop communication strategies and awareness campaigns for projects from Kyrgyzstan to Nigeria to Myanmar to Burundi to Colombia. Jess continues to use her framework to design W!CKED SAiNTS’ games. W!CKED SAiNTS is the first-ever team selected as part of Niantic Lab’s Black Developers Initiative, where they are working on their latest game, World Reborn. The 2020 Game Awards selected Jess as a member of their “Future Class,” individuals worldwide who represent the bright, inclusive future of gaming.

(She has given keynotes at Stanford’s Positive Peace Summit, Global People’s Summit, Games for Change, Play NYC, Xprize’s Future Labs, and several universities. She has authored op-eds, including “I’m black. I’m a peacebuilder. I want your help.” and “America’s Identity Crisis: Race and Reconciliation from a Black Peacebuilder,” published in Foreign Policy. COMMON named Jess one of the top 20 social entrepreneurs to watch in 2020.)

Mike Brand is a human rights, atrocities prevention, and peacebuilding professional with over a decade of experience in policy, advocacy, organizing, and informal education. Throughout his career, Mike has worked for various NGOs in the United States, Rwanda, and South Sudan, and has done fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Mike supports civil society organizations and diaspora networks in strategic planning, program development, and achieving their advocacy and organizing objectives. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, national and international publications, and has been quoted in various international news outlets as an expert in his field. He holds a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, with a concentration in human rights and conflict prevention, and BA’s in History and Political Science with a minor in human rights from the University of Connecticut.


Portland, OR 97207


Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
Oregon Historical Society