VIEWS: 23 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 11/28/2009
GERALD CAPLAN Gerald Caplan has an MA in Canadian history from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. For 10 years Dr. Caplan was an associate professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Education at the Ontario Institute for Education (OISE)/University of Toronto. He has lived in Britain, Zambia, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and Nigeria. He is the author of four books, co-author of a book on the 1988 Canadian election, as well as author of two UNICEF reports, two major Canadian public policy studies, and many columns, articles and book reviews in newspapers, magazines and academic journals. Perhaps his most notable publication has been the comprehensive report called Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide. Recent publications include two lengthy articles in Walrus magazine on genocide and African development. His latest book, The Betrayal of Africa, an assessment of the reasons for Africa's many troubles, was published in spring 2008. After leaving OISE, Gerry Caplan became the Director of the CUSO volunteer program in Nigeria, and then was selected as Federal Secretary (National Director) of the New Democratic Party. He was appointed by the Mulroney government to be co-chair of the Task Force on Canadian Broadcasting Policy, and authored much of its report. For the next half-dozen years he was primarily a newspaper columnist and television commentator as well as a consultant on government relations. He was named co-chair of the Royal Commission on Learning (Ontario), and wrote much of its report as well, For the Love of Learning. After the Commission, Gerry Caplan was the principal author of two UNICEF State of the World’s Children reports, one on children in conflict situations, the other on child labour around the globe. He represented Canadian international NGOs on missions to assess human rights, aid projects and elections in Central America, Namibia and Mozambique. For many years he was a regular weekly columnist for the Toronto Star and a member of the acclaimed weekly Pundits Panel on Canada AM. A collection of his columns has been published. He has also been a board member for a number of NGOs and community groups. During the 1999 Ontario election, he was Director of Research and Strategic Issues for the Ontario NDP. In 2000, Dr. Caplan authored the 300-page report Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide for the International Panel of Eminent Personalities established by the Organization of African Unity to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and he has remained immersed in this field ever since. A good deal of Gerry Caplan’s time in recent years was devoted to a major international initiative that he founded called "Remembering Rwanda: The Rwanda Genocide 10th Anniversary Memorial Project." He became the volunteer co-coordinator of this movement, which culminated with the 10th anniversary in April 2004. He also co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Genocide Research devoted to recent scholarship related to the genocide. He has made presentations on Rwanda, genocide and genocide prevention in various cities in Canada, the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Africa. He has also developed and teaches a course on the role of the media in the Rwandan genocide for the UN's University for Peace both in Rwanda and at its main campus in Costa Rica. Since completing the Rwanda report, Dr. Caplan has traveled to Africa frequently as a senior consultant for the United Nation’s Special Coordinator for Africa, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNICEF, UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, and the African Union. Dr. Caplan has been the volunteer chair of the International Advisory Board for the African AIDS Initiative of the Centre for International Health, University of Toronto, and has acted as senior advisor to his long-time colleague Stephen Lewis during his term as former UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa as well as for his new NGO, Aids-Free World. He also advises solidarity groups promoting more active interventions in the crises in Darfur (Sudan) and northern Uganda. In 2006 he conducted a special graduate seminar at Brandeis University on genocide, and in the spring of 2007 he gave the University of Toronto Centre for Ethics annual public lecture called "The Swift, Painful Death of 'Genocide'." In the summer of 2007, between trips to Addis Ababa to pursue an assignment for the Africa Union, he opened the annual summer school for the Genocide Education Institute in Toronto. He has lectured on African development at the Harvard School of Public Health, at the Georgetown University School of Law and at Yale law School. In late 2007 he was Global Scholar in Residence at Mt. Holyoke University, where his presentations focused on genocide and African-western interactions. In the past year, Gerry Caplan has continued to be deeply involved in numerous new African-related projects. His new book on Africa's development challenges, called The Betrayal of Africa, was published in spring 2008 and has collected a number of warm reviews. For the Ethiopian-based Child Health Policy Forum he prepared a study on child-headed households in Africa, a little-understood phenomenon emerging from the AIDS pandemic. For UNICEF he prepared a study on African health issues and the role of community health workers. He completed his third study for the Africa Union (in collaboration with UNICEF) on the well-being of African children, presented at a special Africa Union forum held in Cairo in October which he attended in an advisory role. In May 2008 he was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, one again to assist UNICEF with a project on critical water and sanitation issues. He continues to provide public commentary on African and third world development issues as well as on genocide prevention on television, radio and in newspaper opinion pieces.