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Steven Spielberg announces USC genocide research center

Movie director/producer Steven Spielberg announced a genocide research center at USC Friday.
April 25, 2014 2:11:59 PM PDT
Movie director and producer Steven Spielberg announced plans for a genocide research center at the University of Southern California on Friday. Spielberg founded the USC Shoah Foundation 20 years ago.

The Oscar-winning director of "Schindler's List" has been a driving force behind the movement to document and record the experiences of Holocaust survivors. Spielberg founded the Shoah Foundation to collect those memories and make them available for the world to see.

Friday, Spielberg unveiled his latest endeavor: the Center for Advanced Genocide Research.

"Every single year it seems our work has hardly even begun -- so much to finish, and there's no end in sight, sadly," said Spielberg.

While the new center will be part of the Shoah Foundation, university officials point out its focus will not rest solely on the Holocaust, but instead on all cases of genocide worldwide.

"Cultures around the world have looked back and asked, 'How did this happen?'" said USC President C.L. Max Nikias. "Now we are looking ahead and asking, 'How can we prevent these incidents before they occur?'"

The Center for Advanced Genocide Research will be housed on the USC campus and merge the resources of the university's various schools of study, all zeroing-in on the causes of mass killings and how to keep them from happening.

"The visual history archive will help shed light not only on the causes of genocide, but on the human condition as a whole," said Steve Kay, dean of the USC Dornsife College.

Add to that the Shoah Foundation's 52,000 first-person testimonies, and university officials say the potential power of the new center becomes even more obvious.

The man who earned an Oscar telling a genocide story is hoping for a shortage of those stories in the future.

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