Dr. James Smith
Dr. James Smith
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Qualified as a medical doctor, it was his involvement in humanitarian response to the Kosovo crisis in 1999 which convinced James that the public health approach to disease prevention should also be applied to genocide prevention. Collaborating with the UK Foreign Office in 2002, he staged the first major international conference on genocide prevention. In 2004, James played a key role in establishing the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a site where some 259,000 victims of the 1994 genocide lie buried, and has become an international centre of excellence for training in humanity, is now being applied as a tool for prevention by community leaders in countries at risk, notably the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Kenya. James was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014 for services to Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention.
The Aegis Trust works to prevent future genocides and to promote humanity. We do this primarily through research, education and the dissemination of information and advice.
Aegis understands genocidal violence as an extreme outcome of a pathway of inhumanity, which can be countered at early stages, similar to disease prevention. Aegis recognizes that nutrition and food security are critical in this process, along with livelihoods, education and health.
Aegis has a global mission, with headquarters in the UK. Aegis has developed a methodology through its work in the UK and Rwanda that transforms hearts and minds. Referred to as Champion Humanity™, this methodology changes attitudes, leading to the creation of new and strengthening existing efforts towards building peace and social cohesion, key factors for food security.
The story of Aegis began 40 years ago by a single family from the UK. The Smith family established a small retreat house in 1978, which was to become the first Holocaust education centre in the UK, opening in 1995. This led to the formation of Aegis in 1999, and then the creation of the Kigali Genocide Memorial in 2004 and the Aegis Champion Humanity™ initiative.