Tool Aims to Predict Mass Killings (‘The New York Times’)


“From past genocides in Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Holocaust, we have learned what the clear early warning signs are that precede mass violence,” Cameron Hudson, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, says in an Associated Press story published by The New York Times.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between the Simon-Skjodt Center and Dartmouth’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the museum has a tool that aims to predict and prevent mass killings.

One of the architects of the project, Benjamin Valentino, an associate professor of government and coordinator of the War and Peace Studies Program at the Dickey Center, tells the Associated Press that the new tool differs from previous efforts to create a warning system because this one is “public and more systematic, combining both statistical risk assessment based on data sets that go back more than 50 years and an ‘opinion pool’ that includes more than 100 experts in particular regions or subjects who will regularly weigh in.”

“For me that’s one of the most important aspects of this project. I would not want to give anyone the impression that we’re never going to be wrong,” Valentino tells the AP. “I expect we will make mistakes. We’ll miss some countries where terrible things happen, and we’ll have some countries that are high on the list and nothing terrible will happen. But the advantage of this project is we’ll know exactly why, and we can use that information to hold ourselves accountable and improve the system going forward.”

Read the full story, published 9/21/15 by The New York Times via the Associated Press.

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