Cultural Resources for Peace, the Rotary Peace Project Incubator
Organizers: the “NEVER AGAIN” Association and Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association
This session is part of the Global Cyber Peace Conference on the 27th of June, 2020.

The panel discussion features representatives of various museums, working with continuing atrocities and their victims, such as the Yezidi and Rohingya refugees. The panel will have five speakers, each of whom will present their project. They will present how they address the problem of ongoing genocide, mass rapes, slavery, and racism against the most persecuted groups. Some of them will use examples of how museums and memorial sites can deliver historical knowledge to address contemporary hatred and violence in a sensitive and timely way.

The panel discussion will explore various ways museums can work to preserve identity and culture, and save those persecuted from humiliation, suffering, and psychological and physical destruction.

Towards the end of the panel discussion they will also discuss how their situation has changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what challenges might present themselves in the future. The panelists will explore their visions on related issues, but also discuss possible project ideas that museums can develop or collaborate with, and how they can adjust themselves to the post-pandemic situation. The panel aims to identify the sources of potential collaboration between museums in the field and other experts.


Tali Nates is the founder and director of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and chair of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation. She is a historian who lectures internationally on Holocaust education, genocide prevention, reconciliation and human rights. Tali has presented at many conferences including at the United Nations in New York (2016) and is a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar (2014-2020). She published many articles and contributed chapters to different books, among them God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors (2015) and Remembering The Holocaust in Educational Settings (2018). Tali serves on the Academic Advisory Group of the School of Social and Health Sciences, Monash University (IIEMSA), South Africa. Born to a family of Holocaust survivors, Tali’s father and uncle were saved by Oskar Schindler.

Mofidul Hoque is a Bangladeshi researcher, publisher and essayist. He is one of the founder trustees of the Bangladesh Liberation War Museum. He is a recipient of numerous awards such as Bangla Academy Literary Award (2013) for essays, Ekushey Padak (2016) and Shaheed Altaf Mahmud Medal. He is the Director of Center for the Study of Genocide and Justice of the museum and organised six international conference on Bangladesh Genocide and Justice. He participated in many international event to highlight Bangladesh Genocide and its recognition. At present he and the CSGS is actively pursuing the cause of justice for the persecuted Rohingya minority.

Haider Elias is co-founder and President for Yazda Organization. Haider holds bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Houston, Haider worked previously for the US government in Iraq as a translator and cultural advisor. Haider lost his young brother in the attack against the Yazidi people in August 2014 and became involved in helping the victims and the advocacy to prevent future genocides against minorities. Haider was part of a group of Yazidi delegation to hold meetings with representatives at the White House when ISIS carried out a genocidal attack against the Yazidi minority. This resulted in the US intervention to authorize airstrikes targeted at ISIS locations and humanitarian airdrops to the thousands of Yazidis that were trapped on Mount Sinjar. Haider has been traveling around the world to create awareness of the Yazidi case. Haider co-founded Nadia Murad`s Initiative with his friends at Yazda in December of 2015 and travelled with her to multiple countries advocating for the Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Naomi Kikoler is a leading expert and strategist on mass atrocity prevention and international human rights advocacy and human rights law. She is the Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. As the Center’s deputy director and policy director she led for four years the Center’s policy engagement with the United States government, Congress and work on Bearing Witness countries. For six years prior she developed and implemented the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect's work on populations at risk and efforts to advance the Responsibility to Protect ( R2P ) globally, including the Centre's UN Security Council advocacy. She has worked as an adviser to the UN Special Adviser to the Responsibility to Protect and as an Adjunct Professor at the New School University. Naomi is the author of numerous publications. These include the 2013 Nexus Fund series on the emerging powers and mass atrocity prevention and the 2011 report "Risk Factors and Legal Norms Associated With Genocide Prevention" for the UN Office on the Prevention of Genocide and the Jacob Blaustein Institute. Prior to joining the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in 2008, she worked on national security and refugee law and policy for Amnesty International Canada. She has also clerked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, served as a legal consultant to the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement at the Brookings Institution and worked as a Carter Center election monitor in Kenya.
Naomi holds common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, a MSc. in Forced Migration from Oxford University where her thesis was on the Rwandan genocide, and a B.A. from the University of Toronto in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies. Naomi is a Board Member of the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Free Yezidi Foundation, and was called to the Bar of Upper Canada.

Kornelis Spaans holds Masters degrees in Law and in Art History. He was a refugee protection officer of the United Nations in South-East Asia. He was on the board of an international bank. He was a diplomat, ultimately serving as ambassador of the Netherlands, with postings in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America and as chairman of several United Nations committees. Board member of the International Committee for the Remembrance of the Victims of Public Crimes (ICMEMO) and honorary member of the Ecuador National Museum Committee. He has been involved in museum-, memorial- and remembrance issues in a number of countries. He is a member of Rotary Club München-Mitte.

Dr Walter B. Gyger is a retired Swiss ambassador. He is now the principal Representative of Rotary International to the UN Office and other international organisations in Geneva, the president of the Swiss/Liechtenstein Rotarian Action Group for Peace and Director of the Rotarian Action for Peace (global). He is the initiator of the concept and convener of the Rotary Peace Project Incubator. This initiative aims to bring together Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotarians and other international experts to elaborate and implement jointly peace projects responding to urgent community needs.


Shahriar Kabir is a Bangladeshi writer, filmmaker and human rights activist. He has authored nearly 100 books and directed 14 documentary films focusing mainly on human rights and global peace. He is one of the champions of the civil society movement to protect rights of the minorities in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries. When pro-Islamist govt. was in power in 2001-2006, he was arrested twice for his strong voice against persecution of the minorities. In 2001 ‘Amnesty International’ declared him a “Prisoner of Conscience.” At present he is the President of the 'Forum for Secular Bangladesh & Trial of the War Criminals of 1971' and General Secretary of the ‘South Asian Peoples Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism’. He has attended more than 100 international seminars and conferences on human rights and global peace. He is the recipient of several national and international awards including Bangla Academy Literary Award.

Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska is a sociologist and member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Her Ph.D. dissertation deals with Holocaust denial, memory and identity in Eastern Europe. Her experience includes work at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw as well as cooperation with the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum in Cambodia and other museums and sites of memory in Europe and Asia. She has also worked with organizations monitoring racism and xenophobia such as the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and the Kantor Center for Study of Contemporary European Jewry of Tel-Aviv University. She is a former Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University from Poland. She is a coordinator for Europe at the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association.