Global Community Engagement - Current Initiatives

In the 2023-2024 academic year, Global Community Engagement is highlighting the following themes:

  • Genocide and its legacies
  • Peace and human rights
  • Migration and diaspora
  • Gender justice
  • Experiences of youth

Spring 2024

Focus on Cambodia

2024 marks the 45th anniversary of the end of the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979) during which between a quarter and a third of Cambodia’s entire population perished from starvation, disease, and execution. An estimated 80% or more of the country’s artists didn’t survive. Our Spring Semester 2024 FOCUS ON CAMBODIA is a celebration of contemporary Cambodian artistry and activism, and a salute to possibilities for the future.

Events will feature guest presenters and performers with expertise in transitional justice, LGBTQ+ rights, art in the diaspora, and Cambodian classical dance.

 Our Focus on Cambodia will culminate with a performance of A Deepest Blue by acclaimed Cambodian choreographer and dancer Prumsodun Ok. Brandeis is proud to be a host of A Deepest Blue, which is on its world premiere tour in 2024.

book cover

March 20, 2024

2:30 - 3:50 pm | Zinner Forum, the Heller School

Dr. Alexander Hinton, Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University will share insights from decades of research about the Cambodian and other genocides. He will situate his talk in relationship to both his current research on far-right extremism as discussed in his book It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide (NYC 2021), and issues in perpetrator research – including writing about perpetrators and the impact of confronting inhumanities on the researcher – that he discussed in his co-authored book (with Tony Robben), Perpetrators: Examining Humanity’s Dark Side (Stanford 2023).

a woman washing writings on the back of another woman

Anida Yoeu Ali/ Palimpsest for Generation 1.5 (Performance Still), 2010 Photo by Masahiro Sugano

Photo Credit: Studio Revolt

April 2, 2024

7:00 pm | Senior Studios, Epstein Building

Anida Yoeu Ali, multi-disciplinary artist and immigration rights activist will perform Palimpsest for Generation 1.5, in which her body is transformed into a palimpsest where histories are inscribed, layering one moment over another. Text pulled from her family’s memories and histories related to Cambodia are inscribed in ink onto her back. As a result of the act, ink and water drip onto her back and stain the dress. When the gestures end and the body leaves the installation, detached roots, a disembodied dress, and faint traces of a performed history remain. The work examines the cultural and emotional resonance of place and memory in relationship to personal histories of violence.

dance teaching

Prumsodun Ok in front of the famed (and now demolished) "White Building" in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Photo Credit: Lim Sokchanlina

April 18, 2024

7:00 - 8:00 pm | Laurie Theater in Spingold Theater Building

Prumsodun Ok, Khmer classical dance choreographer, dancer, educator and scholar and LGBTQ+ rights activist and founder and artistic director of Cambodia’s first and only all-male gay classical dance company, will perform his most recent work, A Deepest Blue, accompanied by four musicians from Japan. A Deepest Blue explores humanity's multifaceted relationship with water, focusing on origin stories from both Cambodia and Japan.