Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M.,
G.O.Q., M.S.C., C.D., L.O.M. (U.S.), B.ésS., LL.D. (Hon.), D.Sc.Mil (Hon.), D.U.
Roméo Dallaire is founder of the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security, the global partnership with the mission to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in violence. A celebrated advocate for human rights, especially in regards to child soldiers, veterans, and the prevention of mass atrocities, General Dallaire is also a respected government and UN advisor and former Canadian Senator.
Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served in staff, training, and command positions through North America, Europe, and Africa, rising in rank from Army Cadet in 1960 to Lieutenant-General in 1998.
Most notably, General Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide. General Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days; yet, permission to intervene was denied and the UN withdrew its peacekeeping forces. General Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces.
His courage and leadership during this mission earned him the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention, and the affection and admiration of people around the globe. His defiant dedication to humanity during that mission has been well-documented in films and books, including his own award-winning account: Shake Hands with the Devil: the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.
General Dallaire’s 1997 revelation that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result of his mission in Rwanda paved the way for destigmatizing this potentially-lethal Operational Stress Injury among military veterans as well as first-responders. Though it led to his being medically released from the Canadian Army in 2000, he has devoted decades of passionate leadership and advocacy to the issue on behalf of other veterans struggling with PTSD, including the publication of his bestselling memoir: Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD.
However, with his acclaimed book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers, General Dallaire proclaimed that the rest of his life will be devoted to the eradication of the use of children in war, and through the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative he continually seeks innovative ways to help end the use of child soldiers.
Whether as military commander, humanitarian, senator or author, Roméo Dallaire has penetrated our national consciousness, often in supremely uncomfortable ways. Setting aside his natural reserve, he has felt compelled to bring national and international attention to situations too-often ignored, whether the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, the struggle that he and many other military veterans face with post-traumatic stress disorder, or the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
General Dallaire lends his name to two important projects, one that works globally and the other locally.
The Dallaire Institute for
Children, Peace, and Security
General Dallaire has committed the rest of his life to the prevention of the use of children as weapons of war. To this end, he founded the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security at Dalhousie University (formerly the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative); a global partnership committed to ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children in violence worldwide. It focuses on three core activities: research, advocacy and security sector training, all through a lens of prevention. Its unique approach, working with military, police and peacekeeping forces is breaking new ground, and is a critical part of interrupting the cycle of recruitment of children by armed groups.
La Fondation Roméo Dallaire
In his home province of Quebec, General Dallaire created a foundation to inspire young Québécois from underprivileged backgrounds to develop their leadership potential. Founded in 2001, today the goal of the Fondation Roméo Dallaire is to build on the strengths of children's personalities and develop their potential to become influential leaders in their community. The programme supports each child over a period of five years, working with valued partners, such as schools, community health centres, and Camp Kéno: an award-winning summer camp. All of these partners play an important part in giving the best possible opportunities to youth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make a donation to help General Dallaire's work?
General Dallaire is the founder of a global initiative to eradicate the use of Child Soldiers, as well as a local foundation in Quebec that supports underprivileged children.
You can support the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security at Dalhousie University here.
You can support the Fondation Roméo Dallaire of Quebec here.
How can I Learn more about General Dallaire and his causes?
General Dallaire is the author of several books which delve deeply into the issues he cares most passionately about. You may click on the titles below to purchase these books, or visit your local library.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda details the General's mission in Rwanda during the horrific genocide in 1994-1995.
They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers introduces how children are used as weapons of war, and what can be done to stop it.
Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD is the General's personal memoir of his 20-years long struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
May I invite General Dallaire to speak at my event?
General Dallaire is a powerful and inspiring speaker on topics ranging from Leadership to Mental Health to Global Affairs. To inquire about General Dallaire's attendance as a speaker at your event or school, please email [email protected]