According to Dr. R. J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, murder by government in the 20th Century surpassed 250,000,000 people. Some six times the number of all people that died in combat in all wars during the same period.... Enough people - laid head to toe and assuming an average height of five feet - to encircle the Earth ten times.... Genocide - the intentional targeting of a group for destruction - was so prevalent during the 20th Century that many observers now refer to that period as "The Century of Genocide".
The mission of Genocide Education Canada is to encourage teachers to teach the lessons of genocide - the importance of tolerance, of upholding human rights and democracy, and of helping others in need - and to help prepare them to effectively communicate those lessons in the classroom so that students will be challenged to think critically about the world that they live in and their role in it and be empowered to affect positive change as global citizens in the 21st Century. To that end, the Centre offers the Genocide Education Institute, a five-day institute that is held in Toronto each summer for teachers from across Canada, and full-day workshops with secondary school students.
The origin of Genocide Education Canada is the General Romeo Dallaire Genocide Institute, a five-day summer institute on genocide education that was offered in 2004-2006 at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. By 2006, the summer institute, which had begun as a professional development opportunity for London-area teachers, was attracting teachers from across the country. The summer institute was subsequently renamed the Genocide Education Institute and incorporated into the Canadian Centre for Genocide Education, a new national genocide education initiative. In 2007, the Genocide Education Institute was permanently relocated to Toronto, though the Centre itself remains in London. The 2008 Genocide Education Institute marked the fifth anniversary of the summer institute, and the graduating class was the largest to date.
Three international conferences have also been held. The first conference, "Crisis in Darfur", was held at The University of Western Ontario in London in October 2006. In November 2008, the second conference, "Continuing Crisis in Darfur", was held in Ottawa, Ontario at the University of Ottawa. The third conference, "Rwanda: Lessons Learned, Not Learned", was held in Toronto at the University of Toronto in March 2009 to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. The three conferences, which were attended by hundreds of people, featured some of the world's most renowned genocide scholars and Africanists. Numerous full-day workshops with secondary school students across Southwestern Ontario have been held, as have a number of public events in London.
Also to mark the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, the 2009 Mission to Rwanda, a two-week trip to Rwanda for graduates of the Genocide Education Institute, was held. During the 2009 Mission to Rwanda, teachers visited genocide memorial sites and met with genocide survivors to learn about the genocide itself and had meetings with government officials and members of non-governmental organizations to learn about reconstruction and reconciliation. Another mission to Rwanda was held in 2010.