The courage and resilience to move forward

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire to receive Dal Management's Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award

- October 4, 2018

Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation, London.)
Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation, London.)

Each year, the Dalhousie Faculty of Management presents the Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award to a Canadian who exemplifies exceptional qualities of character, courage and adherence to ethical principles.

In 2018, Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary, Management will honour Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire. The award will be presented at the Ethics in Action gala in Halifax on November 22, 2018.

General Roméo Dallaire (O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q., M.S.C., C.D., L.O.M. (U.S.), B.ésS., D.U.) is a celebrated advocate for human rights. His tremendous valour in the face of mass atrocities, and his work on behalf of child soldiers and veterans, are internationally recognized.

General Dallaire was especially touched to learn that the recipient of the Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award is chosen by a panel of student leaders.

“I call the youth under 25 'the generation without borders' because they have developed, with the help of technology, street smarts that go beyond the town or country and are international,” he explains. “The vast majority of humanity is still living in inhuman conditions. I hope that a new sense of activism and a whole new movement against greed in our capitalist system are permitted by the extraordinary communications tools young people have today.”

A deserving honouree

Joe Seney is graduating with a Bachelor of Management in January 2019 and was on the selection panel.

“General Dallaire really stood out to me because he has always displayed extremely high ethical values throughout his life, regardless of his situation,” says Seney.

Peggy Cunningham, professor and R.A. Jodrey Chair in Commerce at the Rowe School of Business, agrees. She founded the award six years ago and chairs the selection committee.

“Making ethical decisions in difficult circumstances takes great courage. However, sometimes your attempts to do the right thing don’t create the outcomes you hope for," says Dr. Cunningham. "Nonetheless, ethical leaders like General Dallaire have the resilience to move forward, do the best they can in the circumstances, and continue to push for a right and just solution.”

Making a difference

General Dallaire’s distinguished military career has taken him throughout North America, Europe and Africa. As Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide, General Dallaire warned the UN about the massacre that ultimately took more than 800,000 lives. He, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the UN command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces.

This courageous decision earned him the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention, and the respect and admiration of people around the globe.

In 1997, General Dallaire publicly revealed his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has advocated for military veterans and first responders with PTSD ever since. He also created the Fondation Roméo Dallaire in 2001 to inspire young Québécois from underprivileged backgrounds to develop their leadership potential and is a respected government and UN advisor and former Canadian Senator.

He has written three books, holds honorary degrees from more than 30 universities, and 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, as well as the recipient of numerous other prestigious awards.

Dalhousie collaboration

With the founding of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (CSI) in 2007, General Dallaire has committed the rest of his life to the worldwide eradication of the use of children in war. This global partnership focuses on prevention through research, advocacy and security sector training.

The CSI has made its home at Dalhousie University for eight years. “I think this has been an absolutely wonderful discovery on both sides,” says General Dallaire. “Dalhousie is big enough to support and enhance our reputation and vice versa. It’s small enough that you can feel at home. And it’s progressive enough to take chances with an organization like ours that was launching into a whole new arena of conflict prevention and child protection.”

General Dallaire is quick to share credit for his accomplishments with the outstanding team at the Child Soldiers Initiative, particularly Executive Director Dr. Shelly Whitman. “She is the driving force, and I’m just the old grey guy who watches in amazement,” he laughs.

Asked what message he would share with Dalhousie students, General Dallaire replies that young people must travel and witness for themselves the disenfranchisement experienced by 80 per cent of the world’s population.

“They must build links with youth in other nations — links that transcend borders, traditions, and governments. These are not pie in the sky things — these young people are already global. And they are ultimately the ones we send to the front lines to protect those who need protection through humanitarian and security efforts.”

The Faculty of Management established the student-led Ethics in Action case competition with a $1.5 million donation from Scotiabank. The Scotiabank Ethical Leadership Award recognizes a Canadian leader from a corporate, non-profit or public organization who has demonstrated and maintained outstanding ethical leadership. Past recipients are Sir Graham Day, Richard Pound, Phil Fontaine, Irwin Cotler, Anna Tudela, and Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella. The public is invited to the award presentation at the Ethics in Action gala in Halifax on November 22, 2018. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.


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