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Leading humanitarian to speak at York

Posted on 26 January 2015

Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire will deliver the annual El Hassan bin Talal Lecture at the University of York on 18 February.

Speaking on “Ending the use of Child Soldiers from a Preventative Security Sector Perspective”, Dellaire is founder of the Child Soldiers Initiative and a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention.

During his military career, General Dallaire served in command positions in peacekeeping operations around the globe. Most notably, he served as Force Commander of UNAMIR for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda before and during the 1994 genocide.

In 2014, he stepped down from the Canadian Senate to devote himself to work as president of The Romeo Dallaire Foundation. He is an outspoken advocate and campaigner for genocide prevention, human rights, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, nuclear non-proliferation, and the prevention of the use of child soldiers.

Dr Kenneth Bush, Executive Director of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit at the University of York and organiser of the lecture, said: “We are honoured that General Dallaire will join us for the El Hassan bin Talal Lecture this year. Throughout his career he has demonstrated unwavering strength, commitment and integrity in the field of humanitarianism.  Although the experience of the Rwandan genocide has had a deep and debilitating impact, he has continued to work tirelessly and passionately to animate a global partnership of organisations committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide.  

“The work of Romeo Dallaire’s Foundation and his Child Soldier Initiative aligns with a number of units, centres, institutes and departments at the University of York – most directly with the teaching, research and applied work of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), as well as the Centre for Applied Human Rights, the Institute for Effective Education (IEE), and the Department of Politics.”

Since its inauguration by Prince Hassan bin Talal in 2008, the annual lecture is organised by the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), and supported by the University of York’s International Office and the Office of the Vice Chancellor. 

The lecture series seeks to promote public understanding of post-war reconstruction and development issues. Past keynote speakers have included: the former Afghan Minister of the Interior Haneef Atmar; former Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Workers Agency (UNRWA) Karen AbuZayd; the former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chancellor of the Australian National University, Gareth Evans; the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of International Education, Allan Goodman; and the Nobel Laureate Rae McGrath.

Further information:

  • The lecture takes place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 18 February 2015. For more information and to book tickets, visit:
  • General Romeo Dallaire is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec, and a Commander of the Order of Military Merit. He received the United Nations Association of Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal, the Harvard University Humanist Award, and a host of other awards for his work. He is author of two best-selling books. His first book, Shake Hands with the Devil – the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, documents his harrowing first-hand experience of the genocide in Rwanda.  His most recent book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children – the Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers, articulates his mission to prevent the use of child soldiers in current conflicts.
  • For further information on the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU), visit:

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