By: Frank Chalk, June 2013
Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Roméo Dallaire, Senator, distinguished Canadian, humanitarian, author, lecturer and national treasure.
You have no doubt been struck by his charismatic leadership—in 1994, he commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and, refusing to abandon his post, saved thousands of Tutsis from genocide.
General Dallaire’s experiences in Rwanda are the subject of his book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2004 and the basis of a full-length feature film.
Medically released in 2000 from the Canadian Forces due to post-traumatic stress disorder incurred in Rwanda near the conclusion of a distinguished career in the Canadian military, Lieutenant-General Dallaire rose again, like the proverbial Phoenix, to fight another day.
As Senator Dallaire, he is dedicating himself to preventing genocide, banning the use of child soldiers, and helping a new generation of soldiers reduce the risk of PTSD.
In pursuit of these goals, General Dallaire agreed to serve with Bishop Desmond Tutu on the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention in the spring of 2006 and, following a fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School, joined Concordia University in 2007 as The Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Co-Director of its Will to Intervene Project, which delivers deeply researched recommendations to governments around the world, helping them to improve their capacity to prevent mass atrocities like genocide and crimes against humanity.
He remains an outspoken supporter of raising awareness on the means of protecting veterans’ mental health.
Homme incomparablement intègre, le sénateur Dallaire partage encore et toujours son expérience avec sagacité et compassion.
Honorés de sa présence, nous lui sommes par ailleurs reconnaissants de son dévouement à l’Institut montréalais d'études sur le génocide et les droits de la personne.
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Senator Roméo Dallaire, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
© Concordia University