Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire at The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
As part of the International One Welfare Conference, Lt. General Roméo Dallaire will give a compelling 60 minute presentation reflecting on the nature of PTSD and the impact of that deep wound on his life since 1994, and how he motivates himself and others to humanitarian work despite his constant struggle. Finally, he will bring his experience to bear on how we can make important changes that will help those professionals whose work brings them into contact with trauma.
Though he had been a leader in peace and in war at all levels up to deputy commander of the Canadian Army, his PTSD led to his medical dismissal from the Canadian Forces in April 2000, a blow that almost killed him. But he crawled out of the hole he fell into after he had to take off the uniform, and he has been inspiring people to give their all to multiple missions ever since, from ending genocide to eradicating the use of child soldiers to revolutionizing officer training so that our soldiers can better deal with the muddy reality of modern conflict zones and to revolutionizing our thinking about the changing nature of conflict itself.
In this special presentation, Dallaire suggests that we must begin by accepting the reality that personnel in certain fields simply will be in contact with trauma— that in many cases, it is frankly “part of the job” and will have an effect on the professionals involved. People in these professions should be made to feel at ease with the fact these experiences really are a part of the profession, and that it is normal to be affected by them. By viewing the mental health consequences of traumatic experiences not as disease, but as injury, we can begin to anticipate and plan for the impact of these injuries in a way that facilitates recovery, changes culture, and benefits us all.
This presentation includes dinner at the beautiful Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and a question and answer period moderated by NCCID Communications Manager and former broadcaster, Rick Harp.
About Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire
ROMÉO DALLAIRE is a retired lieutenant-general, retired Canadian senator, and celebrated humanitarian. In 1993, LGen Dallaire was appointed force commander for UNAMIR, where he bore witness to the Rwandan genocide. His Governor General’s Literary Award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil, exposed the failures of the international community to stop that genocide. It has been turned into an Emmy Award-winning documentary as well as a feature film; it has also been entered into evidence in war crimes tribunals trying the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Dallaire has received numerous honours and awards, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and the United Nations Association in Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal in 2005. His second book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, was also a national bestseller. Since his retirement, he has become an outspoken advocate for human rights, mental health and war-affected children. He founded the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, an organization committed to progressively ending the use of child soldiers worldwide through a security sector approach.