Best known for having served as the Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian senator, humanitarian and author will address his work in Rwanda as well as his continued efforts to fight genocide at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 in Albright Auditorium. Dallaire’s address is jointly sponsored by the President’s Forum Series and the Human Rights and Genocide speaker series. The address will serve as the beginning of a three semester long symposium on genocide. It will be aired live on WHWS 105.7 FM.
“Lieutenant General Dallaire is a particularly engaging speaker to bring to campus – not only because of his experience with genocide firsthand in Rwanda, but as someone to address the post-genocide question,” says Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter, who was instrumental in bringing Dallaire to campus. “With all the humanitarian work that he has done since his return, he will be able to direct us toward the types of responses possible after genocide; how we can work to remember Rwanda, but more importantly, learn from it and work toward prevention.”
As Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda in 1993, his mission was to enforce a peace treaty that had recently been completed, supervising the implementations detailed in the document. Dallaire alerted the United Nations of the impending genocide in which 800,000 people were killed over the course of 100 days.
Following his time in Rwanda, Dallaire was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has since worked to raise awareness for veteran health. He is the author of “Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda” and is awaiting the publication of a second book about the use of child soldiers.
“Lieutenant General Dallaire suffered tremendously psychologically after Rwanda – and that is a part of the story we want students to see,” explains Salter. “Genocide aid and prevention is long term; it is not something you jump into and it will suddenly change.”
In addition, prior to his public lecture on Feb. 10, Dallaire is scheduled to meet with students for an open question and answer session at 3 p.m. in the Sanford Room.
In 2000, Dallaire retired from the Canadian army, and began work as a special adviser to the Canadian minister responsible for Canadian International Development Agency, focusing on war affected children and the non-proliferation of small arms. He has also served as a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he began to avidly pursue research on conflict resolution and the use of child soldiers. In March of 2005, Dallaire was appointed to the Canadian Senate, where he currently represents the province of Quebec.
Dallaire’s talk is made possible in part by the generous scholarship of the Young Memorial Trust.
Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, the President’s Forum Series is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members.
The Human Rights and Genocide lecture series began on the HWS campus in the Fall 1999 through a donation from Dr. Edward Franks ’72. In his continuing interest in the subject, Franks has made another significant donation to support the symposium that begins this semester. Through a series of lectures, films, art exhibits, and more, the series aims to examine the systematic killing of whole national or ethnic groups. Genocides in the 20th century include the two World Wars, the Stalinist gulag, the Holocaust, Armenia, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the killing fields in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo.