BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has established a
scholarship in memory of Alison L. Des Forges, the late historian
and human rights activist who was killed in the crash of
Continental Flight 3407 near Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009.
Working with the Alison L. Des Forges Memorial Committee, UB
created the Alison L. Des Forges Memorial Scholarship Endowment
Fund to provide financial support for Buffalo Public Schools
graduates who are committed to studying human rights and social
UB faculty member Roger Des Forges, PhD, a professor of history,
said that the scholarship grew out of a desire to pay tribute to
the causes his wife held dear.
"When we lost Alison, family and friends wanted to act to keep
her memory alive and advance the causes she devoted her life to:
one of those was improving K-12 public education in Buffalo;
another was protecting human rights in Central Africa," he
Des Forges said the scholarship offers a practical way to
promote both interests.
"Relatively few Buffalo public school graduates attend the
University at Buffalo, in some cases because of a lack of financial
resources," he said. "We hope this scholarship will encourage
secondary school students to inform themselves about issues related
to human rights and social justice, and inspire and enable them to
attend UB, where they can develop programs of study in human
rights, and eventually continue Alison's work in defending human
rights and social justice for generations to come."
The scholarship will be open to Buffalo Public School graduates
who enroll at UB in any major and will be awarded for the first
time in fall 2013. A committee is being established to help in the
recruitment and selection process, according to A. Scott Weber,
vice provost and dean of undergraduate education.
"The University at Buffalo feels a great sense of pride and
commitment in honoring the ideals of Alison L. Des Forges through
the scholarship," Weber said. "To know that each year a student
from the Buffalo Public Schools will be helped for the next four
years as they pursue the same goals that she worked for with such
tenacity will be a lasting tribute."
An internationally recognized authority on human rights abuses,
Alison Des Forges tirelessly advocated on behalf of citizens of
Central Africa as a senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human
Rights Watch. Her landmark book, "Leave None to Tell the Story:
Genocide in Rwanda," awakened the world to the horrors of the 1994
killings in that nation. The authoritative account, along with her
decades of devotion to her work, earned Des Forges a MacArthur
Foundation Award in 1999.
Des Forges said his wife would be grateful for the efforts of so
many people who have worked to keep her memory alive.
"I think that Alison would say thank you to all those who have
contributed to establishing this scholarship. She would think that
it is an appropriate memorial to her and to others who have given
their lives to protect the human rights of all members of the human
community. She would feel happiness that the causes for which she
worked will continue to be carried on in her name and in
For more information about the Alison L. Des Forges Memorial
Scholarship Fund, visit http://giving.buffalo.edu/desforges.