When Aegis’ founders opened the UK’s National Holocaust Centre in 1995, it was intended to be a warning from history. Yet even while it was preparing to open, genocide was carried out against the Tutsis in Rwanda. And Rwanda was not the only country experiencing mass atrocities. Following genocide against Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 it was clear by 1999 that ethnic cleansing in Kosovo was a predictable catastrophe. Aside from the needless human cost in Kosovo, the world spent $40 billion responding to that crisis and rebuilding.

It begged the question what could be achieved if a fraction of this resource was invested in prevention efforts. Just as with diseases, risk factors for genocide may be identified and interventions developed to prevent. That is why the Aegis Trust was founded in 2000. There have been notable successes since, and we are hugely grateful to our partner organizations, and to our growing community of committed supporters around the World, without whom so much of what is being achieved would simply not be possible. Yet there is much more to do, and that involves a collective effort on the part of all of us.

2000Aegis is founded, building on the work of the UK Holocaust Centre and lessons learned in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis.
2001Creation of ‘100 Nights’: the first mobile exhibition on the history of the Rwandan genocide. Shown in London, Paris, Cape Town and Kigali.
2002Aegis and the UK Foreign Office jointly organise the first international conference on genocide prevention, bringing together policy-makers, academics, survivors and field specialists at the UK Holocaust Centre.
2002Rwanda’s Minister of Culture, and the Mayor of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, visit the UK Holocaust Centre and ask Aegis to help create the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
2004Aegis, in partnership with Kigali City Council, opens the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
2004Aegis undertakes field research in Darfur, publishing a report and calling for referral to ICC.
2005Launch of UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Genocide Prevention, coordinated by Aegis. Former International Development Secretary Clare Short MP becomes first Chair.
2005Aegis takes Holocaust and genocide survivors to world capitals with Oxfam in a successful campaign for adoption of commitment to the "Responsibility to Protect" at the UN World Summit in New York.
2006Aegis successfully generates international pressure for withdrawal of Ethiopian troops sent into Sudan towards the Anuak refugee camp at Pochalla. The story never breaks in the media.
2006Aegis Students, Aegis’ youth arm, is launched. The first Aegis Students society is established at Oxford University.
2006First global ‘Day for Darfur’. Aegis is involved in organisation for rallies in dozens of cities worldwide, calling for UN peacekeepers.
2007Aegis rescues a Darfuri asylum seeker from Khartoum after he is sent back to Sudan from the UK and tortured.
2007UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon opens a joint Aegis-UN exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York. Titled ‘Lessons from Rwanda’, it goes on tour in the Americas, Africa and India.
2008A peace-building education programme is initiated by Aegis at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, providing structured learning for visiting school pupils.
2009Evidence of torture, secured by Aegis during an undercover investigation in Khartoum, helps to end the removal of Darfuri asylum seekers from the UK to Sudan.
2010Aegis secures changes to UK law on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, ending impunity of genocide suspects in UK.
2010Aegis opens the Genocide Archive of Rwanda in partnership with the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG).
2010Aegis opens the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel in Kigali and charity shops in the UK as social enterprises to support its mission.
2010Actor Clive Owen becomes Aegis’ Goodwill Ambassador.
2011Aegis publishes a widely cited economic report, ‘The Cost of Future Conflict in Sudan’, estimating renewed war could cost over US$100bn across a decade.
2012Former UN Sudan chief Dr Mukesh Kapila becomes Aegis’ Special Representative on Crimes Against Humanity and visits the Nuba Mountains, Sudan, with Aegis CEO Dr James Smith. They record first evidence of illegal cluster munitions and antipersonnel mines being used by Government of Sudan against civilians in the region.
2012Independent report on Aegis’ peace-building education programme in Rwanda shows that it is changing attitudes and behaviour, not only among participating students but within the communities from which they come.
2013Aegis Special Representative Mukesh Kapila revisits Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State, and Darfur frontier. Launches memoir – ‘Against a Tide of Evil’.
It has been an honour for Aegis to be able to make a contribution to the effort of rebuilding and development that is happening in Rwanda. Our greatest area of work is peace-building education in Rwanda, where we have an opportunity to help a generation to put fear and hostility behind them and develop common values of humanity.
This is leading to greater resilience against violence in communities. If, after genocide, Rwandans can do this, then there is hope that other countries at risk of atrocities can look to Rwanda for advice on building peace at a community level.
Aegis also educates the media and politicians about immediate threats to people – such as the children pictured on the left, hiding in caves in the Nuba Mountains because Sudan’s President Bashir does not believe in diversity.
HOW WE’RE MAKING CHANGE
Established by the Aegis Trust in April 2004 at the request of the Rwandan Government and Kigali City Council at the site where some 250,000 victims of the genocide against the Tutsi lie buried, the Kigali Genocide Memorial continues to be run by Aegis today on behalf of CNLG (Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against Genocide) as a place both of remembrance and learning for a new generation.
In April 2014, partners of the Aegis Trust from Rwanda and around the World gathered at the Kigali Genocide Memorial to celebrate its first ten years, mark the opening of new educational facilities and take part in Aegis’ launch of the Global Centre for Humanity. A new international institute to have its home at the Memorial, the Centre will support people in countries like South Sudan and the Central African Republic to overcome the divisions that lead to mass atrocities and build resilient, united communities.
New facilities include a large open-air amphitheatre along with classroom spaces that quadruple the Memorial’s capacity to accommodate students for peace-building education, and their completion marks the first phase of a major expansion programme – made possible thanks to support from the UK, Sweden, Korea, the Netherlands and Japan. If you might be interested in donating or fundraising to support Phase Two, please get in touch.
BE PART OF THE FUTURE
Today Aegis has an unrivalled opportunity to break cycles of violence and prevent mass atrocities in three countries at risk – but to do so we need your help, and we need to move fast.
After ten years of building peace in Rwanda, Aegis is being called upon by leaders in government, faith communities and public life in the Central African Republic (CAR), Kenya and South Sudan to bring the experience of our Rwandan staff to help to avert the threat of mass atrocities.
Would you like to help us do that? By doing so you would be saving lives.
BUILDING PEACE TO SAVE LIVES

“Genocide thrives off ignorance. And Aegis has played a crucial role in challenging such ignorance. So that alongside ‘Never Again’ will echo ‘Never Again Can We Claim Not To Know’.”

Kemal Pervanic, survivor, Omarska Concentration Camp, Bosnia

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