Mark Hanis

Ashoka Fellow
Washington, United States
Fellow Since 2008
My work: Building networks of genocide & mass atrocity survivors to ensure what they have suffered doesn't happen again.


This profile was prepared when Mark Hanis was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Over a half-century ago, the international community pledged to “never again” allow genocide to occur. Repeated failure to keep that promise (in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Darfur) sparked Mark’s creation of the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-NET). Thousands in the international community are asking what they can do to stop genocide, and GI-NET is answering by empowering individuals and communities to hold governments accountable to contribute directly to protecting civilians around the world from genocide.
A longstanding key strategy of the human rights movement has been to publish shocking reports of abuses to raise awareness and ultimately move U.S. and international leaders to act. GI-NET is expanding on that work by providing global citizens with the tools to more effectively advocate and fundraise to prevent genocide, thus fulfilling their moral and civic duties as citizens of the world. This represents a significant shift in past practices as it distributes the power to affect change from a concentrated few to a much larger group of citizen activists. The tools that enable this distribution are an important part of the “newness” of Mark’s work—as many of them involve the innovative use of technology in advocacy.
Already, GI-NET’s efforts on Darfur have translated into revised thinking on the part of elected officials and policymakers about appropriate responses to this genocide and about prevention of current and future mass atrocities. Whether “grading” United States members of Congress on their voting records, or encouraging individual and institutional divestment from companies doing business in corrupt regions implicated in the atrocities, GI-NET’s national network has designed a comprehensive strategy that creates roles for citizens at all levels of engagement. GI-NET is an example of how organized citizens can pressure governments, raise resources, and ultimately protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities wherever they might occur in the world.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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