Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

January 2016

Roméo Dallaire is a retired UN Lieutenant-General, Senator, and celebrated humanitarian.

In 1993 as Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), he witnessed the country descend into chaos and genocide.

During the genocide which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days, the UN denied Gen. Dallaire and his troops permission to intervene and withdrew its peacekeeping forces. Along with a small contingent of Ghanaian soldiers and military observers, Gen. Dallaire disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, Gen. Dallaire’s actions are credited with directly saving the lives of 32,000 people.

Since his retirement, he has become an outspoken advocate for human rights, genocide prevention, mental health and war-affected children. He founded The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, an organization committed to ending the use of child soldiers worldwide, and is the author of two best-selling books.

In January 2016, The Rumi Foundation hosted Gen. Dallaire for an open discussion about how the lessons learned from the Rwandan genocide are being used today to educate children, governments and military personnel to ensure children in conflict zones do not become weapons of war.