The Dr. Harold Abel Endowed Lecture Series in the Study of Dictatorship, Democracy and Genocide hosts distinguished scholars to discuss the past, present and future of worldwide genocide. The series focuses on the impact of historical events such as the Holocaust and mass murders in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
The endowed lecture series was established in 2009 through a $100,000 gift from the family of Dr. Harold Abel to honor and memorialize his 44-year career as an educator, which included a 10-year term as president of Central Michigan University from 1975 to 1985. Dr. Abel passed away in 2002.
Eric Johnson, CMU history professor and chair of the Abel Endowed Lecture Series Advisory Committee, believes that this lecture series will serve as a fitting tribute to President Abel's commitment to CMU.
"Harold Abel was an enormously curious and creative person as well as one of CMU's most distinguished and enterprising presidents. He cared deeply about knowledge that matters and cared deeply about making his university a better known institution on a world-wide basis."
In establishing an endowment to honor President Abel's commitment to scholarship at CMU, his family wanted to find a way to reach students directly.
"This speaker series continues President Abel's service as an educator," said Iris Abel, Harold's widow. "He believed in education as a lifelong endeavor to understand and improve the lives of others. Genocide is not a historical anomaly but an ongoing horror which can be ended only by the glare of public attention.
World War II historian
Gerhard Weinberg served as the inaugural speaker for the Dr. Harold Abel Endowed Lecture Series in the Study of Dictatorship, Democracy and Genocide. His talk, "A New Look at Hitler and the Beginning of the Holocaust," was held Monday, November 9, 2009 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.