Lieutenant General The Honourable Roméo Dallaire has found much success and received well deserved recognition for his demanding work as a soldier, Senator advocate, humanitarian, and author. However, he is perhaps most well known for his efforts to prevent and mitigate the damages of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
From a young age, LGen Dallaire planned to follow in his father’s military footsteps, and in 1964 Dallaire joined the Canadian Forces. He enrolled as a cadet at CMR before transferring to RMC to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in 1969. In 1970 Dallaire was put in charge of a platoon tasked with protecting the National Assembly in Quebec City during the October Crisis. As a promising young officer, Dallaire rose quickly through the ranks and was selected to attend Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the British Higher Command and Staff Course. In 1989, Dallaire was promoted to Brigadier General and served as the commandant at CMR.
Through the early 1990s, during the height of the Gulf War, LGen Dallaire took command of the 5,200 man 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and was involved in various peace keeping missions.
In 1993, Dallaire was posted to Rwanda to take command of an observation unit and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), whose mandate was to oversee the signing of peace agreements meant to end the civil war in Rwanda. In April 1994, the Rwandan President’s plane was shot down over Kigali, and the country was plunged into 100 days of chaos. Despite orders to withdraw, Dallaire and a small contingent of soldiers and observers remained in an attempt to shelter those seeking refuge with the UN. Dallaire was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention, and was met with global praise for his actions and leadership during the mission.
Dallaire was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1998, prior to his retirement in 2000, after 36 years of service. Since his retirement, Dallaire has served on various advisory committees, and in 2005 Dallaire was appointed to the Senate, where he served diligently as an outspoken advocate for veteran’s rights, PTSD awareness, genocide prevention, and war-affected children. This very distinguished alumnus has recently announced his resignation from the Senate, so that he can continue his international humanitarian work with his Child Soldier Initiative as well as the Romeo Dallaire Foundation.
“The ultimate focus of the rest of my life is to eradicate the use of childsoldiers and to eliminate even the thought of the use of children as instruments of war”
- They Fight Like Soldiers: They Die Like Children, Roméo Dallaire, 2010
Below is a video in which Dallaire discusses the rehabilitation of Rwanda, and the importance of commemorating the genocide that occurred 20 years ago in 1994.
Personal website: http://www.romeodallaire.com/
Some of his initiatives: