Area of Focus: Darfur, Holocaust Education, Prevention, South Sudan, Sudan
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Melanie Nelkin is a co-founder and current chair of The Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide (GC2PG). The GC2PG’s mission is to build a permanent anti-genocide constituency in Georgia. She was in the inaugural Carl Wilkens Fellowship Class in 2009, which connected her with a cohort of activists across the US with a focus on building tools for communities to prevent and end genocide. In 2011, she was instrumental in founding the Genocide Prevention Institute, which was created to educate and empower communities with advocacy and action tools to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. In November 2012 she helped the Georgia Sudanese and South Sudanese Diaspora organize the United Sudan and South Sudan Communities Association (USASSCA) in Georgia.
She has spent a great deal of time on Sudan related issues at the Georgia State Capital. In 2009 GC2PG’s advocacy efforts resulted in the passage of a Georgia State Senate Bill, which disqualified new Georgia contracts with the most egregious companies doing business with Sudan. In 2014, GC2PG initiated the 4th annual state resolution to recognize April as Genocide Prevention and Awareness Month in Georgia.
Melanie’s interest in the history of genocide began as a docent at The Breman Holocaust and Jewish Heritage Museum in 1996. Almost three quarters of a century ago, the international community pledged “never again” to allow genocide and mass atrocities to occur. Repeated failure of the global community (Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan and Darfur) to keep that promise however, sparked the creation of GC2PG where building the necessary political will to prevent genocidal regimes from widespread intentional and systematic atrocities is its focus. She currently engages with students, teachers, interfaith and non-profit organizations in Georgia to introduce unengaged segments of the local population to the anti-genocide advocacy movement.
Her involvement in the Jewish community has been an important catalyst behind her activism. Current positions include co-chair of International Human Rights portfolio for the Israel, World Jewry and International Human Rights Task Force for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); JCPA director; Vice President, Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta; Vice President, Atlanta Regional Office of The American Jewish Committee, Chair; Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide. She is a member of the Women’s Solidarity Society, National Center for Civil and Human Rights.