Congregation Beth Israel Social Action Council, the American Jewish Committee, Amnesty International, and The Coalition for Genocide Awareness present “Darfur Genocide: An Assault on Survival,” Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Israel.

John Heffernan, director of the Genocide Prevention Initiative, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, will be the featured speaker.

In July 2004 the Holocaust museum’s Committee on Conscience declared a “Genocide Emergency” in Darfur. Since then the committee has been working to educate policy makers and the American public about the urgent need to take action to end the genocide there.

The museum has mounted a display on the emergency in Darfur; held educational programming on the topic featuring members of Congress and Holocaust survivors; hosted two national conferences for student leaders engaged on the issue; and more.

The committee recently launched a weekly podcast series, “Voices on Genocide Prevention,” featuring leaders in government, media and advocacy addressing how citizens can get involved in genocide prevention efforts. For more information on the committee, visit

Heffernan brings to the museum nearly 20 years of experience in development, relief, human rights, and post-conflict reconstruction projects in the United States, Africa, South America and Europe. As the committee’s genocide prevention initiative director, Heffernan oversees the Museum’s public outreach initiatives and activities including conducting research on and documenting instances of genocide, developing genocide response strategies and spearheading campaigns to build public awareness of and reaction to instances of genocide.

For the past four years, Heffernan has been a senior investigator and communications associate with Physicians for Human Rights, where he designed and implemented advocacy strategy on the crisis in Darfur. He also led an investigation to Afghanistan to document human rights and international humanitarian law violations as well as to examine post-conflict reconstruction needs.

Previously, he has served as the chief of party for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Guyana, executive director for the Coalition for International Justice, as country representative to Croatia for the International Rescue Committee, and vice president of the Business Council for the United Nations.

The event on Oct.19 will be held in Goodman Hall at Congregation Beth Israel, 1972 N.W. Flanders St. This event is open to the community and free of charge.