The City College of New York

The series of lectures, conversations, film showings, exhibitions, and courses brings together faculty, students, and staff at CCNY and the New York City community to examine human rights through multiple lenses.



 Monday, May 4, 2015, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Center for Worker Education, City College of New York

“Never Again”: Mass Atrocity Prevention in the Twenty-first Century and the Responsibility to Protect

With guest speaker Dr. Simon Adams, moderated by Professor Rajan Menon

This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide and the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. It is thus a critical time for the human rights community to assess progress on the development of international norms, law, and efforts to prevent and halt genocide and other mass atrocities. At the heart of contemporary debates is the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. While R2P has been considered an “emerging norm,” the application of R2P remains contested in international peace and security circles. Simon Adams, executive director of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, will discuss the R2P doctrine, its evolution over the past decade and a half, and challenges that impede consensus on when the international community of states should invoke R2P to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes. 


Dr. Simon Adams is Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Dr Adams has worked extensively with governments and civil society organizations in South Africa, East Timor, Rwanda, Mozambique and elsewhere. Between 1994 and 2002 Dr. Adams worked with Sinn Féin and former IRA prisoners in support of the Northern Ireland peace process. He is also a former anti-apartheid activist and member of the African National Congress.

Dr. Adams is the author of four books and numerous academic articles with a focus on international conflict. He has also written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Australian, Huffington Post, International Herald Tribune, News24 (South Africa), O Estado de S. Paulo (Brazil), Los Angeles Times and many other publications. Dr Adams has appeared as an expert commentator on Al-Jazeera, BBC, ARD (Germany), Chinese Central Television and numerous other media.

Dr. Adams studied at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and at the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he received his Ph.D. He is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Business School. Dr. Adams has lectured at a number of international universities. He served as Pro Vice Chancellor (International Engagement) at Monash University, Australia's largest public university, and as Vice President of its South African campus between 2008-2010.

Among his other commitments, Dr. Adams is currently a member of the board of Catalpa International, an East Timorese not-for-profit information technology and development organization. He is Vice Chairman of the International Advisory Board of Skateistan Global, an award-winning non-profit organization dedicated to using skateboarding to expose Afghan, Cambodian and South African children to educational and leadership development opportunities. Dr. Adams is also a member of the board of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world's leading professional association for the promotion of international education.



Rajan Menon holds the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science at the City College of New York/City University of New York. Previously he was the Monroe J. Rathbone Professor and Chairman in the Department of International Relations at Lehigh University. He has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, an Academic Fellow and Senior Adviser at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Director for Eurasia Policy Studies at the Seattle-based National Bureau for Asian Research (NBR). He has taught at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University and served as Special Assistant for Arms Control and National Security to Congressman Stephen J. Solarz (D-NY), while an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, of which he is a member. His current work concerns American foreign and national security policy, international security, globalization, and the international relations of Asia and Russia and the other post-Soviet states. 

Menon was awarded the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching (at Vanderbilt University) and the Eleanor and Joseph F. Libsch Award for Distinguished Research and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (at Lehigh University). He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar (2002-2003) and has also received fellowships and grants from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the US Institute of Peace. Menon has written more than 50 opinion pieces and essays for the Los Angeles TimesNewsweekFinancial TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science MonitorNewsdayChicago TribuneBoston Globe, and He has appeared as a commentator on National Public Radio, ABC, CNN, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and World Focus (PBS).