Twenty-five years after drawing the world’s attention to the atrocities committed in Rwanda, retired lieutenant-general Roméo Dallaire has been named the recipient of an international award for promoting tolerance and respect.
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship announced Thursday that Mr. Dallaire, a former Canadian senator, is the recipient for this year’s Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship.
“Despite all the psychological trauma that he has gone through, and it’s still not over really for him, he has continued to do what he can to draw attention to these causes,” said former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, the prize’s namesake and co-founder of the institute.
The international award was established in 2016 by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to recognize a leader dedicated to establishing tolerance and inclusion. Previously, the prize has been awarded to Margaret Atwood (2018), Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (2017) and the Aga Khan (2016).
The announcement comes on the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, when Mr. Dallaire was serving as force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. He played a crucial role at the time when the UN withdrew its peacekeepers and then-Gen. Dallaire refused to leave, instead staying to protect targets of the massacre.
Although he battled with post traumatic stress disorder, Mr. Dallaire would go on to work on helping end the use of child soldiers through the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and to foster leadership in children through La Foundation Roméo Dallaire in his home province of Quebec.
“I departed from Rwanda injured, even broken, but profoundly awake to the responsibility we have to each other as human beings and global citizens,” Mr. Dallaire said in a news release.
“In these perilous times, similar to those in 1994 when nearly two million refugees were fleeing one tiny country for their lives, it is critical we see ourselves beyond borders and as citizens who share an ethical covenant to respect and protect one another.”
Mr. Dallaire will receive his award on Sept. 25 at 6 Degrees Toronto, a three-day international forum on diversity, citizenship and inclusion.
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