Our Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture Event was a great success. We had the honor of hearing Alice Wairimu Nderitu of Kenya speak to us about her work as a mediator and peacemaker. Ms. Nderitu is Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. She is a globally recognized voice in the field of peace building and violence prevention. Ms. Nderitu was the first African women to sign peace agreements as a mediator and she has since received many awards over the years for her innovative approach towards mediation. Some of the awards include the Joan B. Croc Institute for Peace and Justice Award, the Women Peacemaker of the Year Award and the Global Pluralism Award.

Ms. Nderitu began her lecture by speaking with humility and paying tribute to all, both those living and deceased, who have been subject to racial injustice, including genocide. She then continued by describing her role within the United Nations. First, Ms. Nderitu keeps a close eye and raises alarm to risk factors of genocide and related crimes. She also raises awareness of atrocity crimes and advocates for the building of proper and effective spaces to monitor the prevention of such crimes. Additionally, Ms. Nderitu discussed the role from a global perspective.  Her role was created in 2004 in an effort to prevent further genocides in Rwanda against the Tutsi. Since then, her team has been able to develop a better understanding of risk factors of such atrocity crimes and apply that knowledge to the prevention of similar crimes from a global perspective. Ms. Nderitu is able to utilize an analysis tool for prevention to assess the risk of the crimes against humanity and war crimes from an early warning perspective. Understanding the risk factors that lead to the crime is essential to prevention.

The audience was both inspired and moved by Ms. Nderitu’s lecture. She concluded her conversation by emphasizing the importance of those with influence and how they should focus on being agents of transformation; she encourages everyone to do their part for the prevention of genocide around the world. Racial injustices affect us all and are a global reality that requires a global response. We thank Ms. Nderitu for gracing us with her knowledge and expertise within this space!