Preventing Mass Atrocities: Making "Never Again" A Reality

SAN DIEGO – Gareth Evans has served his native country of Australia as a parliamentarian and diplomat, and the United Nations as co- chair of a high-level panel on U.N. reform, but he has his toughest job cut out for him as President and CEO since 2001 of the International Crisis Group, an international non-governmental organization with over 130 experts around the world working to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.


On Thursday, April 12, at 6 p.m. at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, Evans will speak on lessons that have been learned from past conflicts about how to prevent violence from escalating into mass atrocities like genocide, the maiming and massacre of civilians, and “ethnic cleansing.” His talk, “Preventing Mass Atrocities: Making ‘Never Again’ a Reality,” is free and open to the public. RSVPs are required by April 10 to


Evans has written or edited eight books on subjects such as international rules governing the use of military force, humanitarian intervention and conflict prevention. He is a realist about the importance of creating a system for international action when governments cannot or will not protect their citizens.


“We can, if we need to, justify making ‘the responsibility to protect’ a reality on practical, national interest grounds that states that can’t or won’t stop internal atrocities are the kind of rogue or failed states that can’t or won’t stop terrorism, weapons proliferation, drug and people trafficking, the spread of health pandemics and other global risks,” he explains. “But, at the end of the day, the case for ‘the responsibility to protect’ is one that rests on our common humanity — the impossibility of ignoring the cries of pain and distress of our fellow human beings.”


Evans began his career as a lawyer in Australia before moving into the parliament and he spent 13 years as a Cabinet Minister.  Known for his candor in Australian political circles, Evans continues to speak bluntly on behalf of international organizations like the United Nations and International Crisis Group. As co-chairs of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Evans and former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy put forward a new approach to state sovereignty which proposed that states that did not protect their citizens forfeited their sovereignty and should not be object to international or regional intervention to fulfill that vital state function. 


Serving now as a member of the Blix Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Evans is analyzing ways to decrease the risk of mass casualties through the accidental or purposeful use of weapons of mass destruction.  


Evans’ lecture is the third in the 2006-2007 Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture Series, sponsored by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. Founded in 2000 with a $25 million gift from the late San Diego philanthropist and former owner of the San Diego Padres Joan B. Kroc, the institute is dedicated to fostering peace, cultivating justice and creating a safer world by working to improve the lives of those caught in the web of armed conflict and human rights abuses.


The institute is located at the University of San Diego, a Catholic Institution of higher learning chartered in 1949. The university enrolls approximately 7,500 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will bring the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Science.



About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.