Torture and Forgiveness at Guantánamo Bay: A Conversation with Mohamedou Ould Slahi


Location: Leighton Concert Hall, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Forum 2017 18

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary, a first-hand account of his inhumane treatment as a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, created a sensation when it was published in January 2015. Though heavily redacted by government censors, Slahi’s story of enduring humanity in the face of extreme hatred and suffering raised the level of discourse concerning our use of torture, approaches to addressing terrorism, and Muslim identity.

After more than 14 years of imprisonment, Slahi was released from Guantánamo Bay and is residing in his native Mauritania. The Center for Civil and Human Rights is now organizing a videoconference with Slahi on the occasion of the publication of the restored edition of his memoir, allowing the Notre Dame community to engage with him live. The event will also include expert discussants Larry Siems, the editor of Guantánamo Diary, and Juan Méndez, current UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and former CCHR Director. The event will be moderated by Christine Cervenak, Associate Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The Sunday videoconference will be supplemented by related activities across campus:

Devised Performance
Professors Anton Juan and Anne Garcia Romero of the Department of Film, Theater and Television are integrating Guantánamo Diary: Restored Edition into their spring 2018 course, “Devised Performance: Transferring Memory, History and Document into Theatrical Expression.” In conjunction with the teleconference, there will be a Devised Performance based on Slahi’s memoir (including dramatic readings from the book) in the Philbin Studio Theater, a free but ticketed event.

Facilitated Discussion Groups
The Center for Social Concerns will host facilitated Discussion Circles of the book on Friday, January 26, 4:00-5:30 p.m. in Geddes Hall.  Join faculty, staff, and students from across campus to read Guantánamo Diary: Restored Edition by Mohamedou Ould Slahi and discuss together the content, and your reactions to it, with Larry Siems, the editor. Participants will discuss first in small groups then join together in a plenary discussion with editor Larry Siems.

A limited supply of books are available now at the Center for Social Concerns to those who register for the book discussion. To register for this discussion, and receive a book if needed, please use this form to register.

Campus-Wide Read
Envisioned as a campus-wide engagement with the themes of Guantánamo Diary, students, faculty and others are encouraged to read the memoir prior to the event. If your department or group is interested in participating by purchasing and distributing copies of Guantánamo Diary: Restored Edition to your student constituents, please contact Christine Cervenak at

Torture and Forgiveness at Guantánamo Bay is presented by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and is co-sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, the Global Policy Initiative of the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Glynn Family Honors Program, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Kellogg International Scholars Program, the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, and the University Merit Scholarship Programs. Participating organizations include the AnBryce Scholars Initiative, the LL.M. Program and the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law, and Human Rights ND.

Presented in partnership with the Notre Dame Forum.