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Dalhousie University, University of Alberta present Roméo Dallaire in conversation about Leadership in Times of Crisis

Posted by Communications and Marketing on September 14, 2021 in News

(EDMONTON/HALIFAX) When Canada’s Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire led UN peacekeeping troops in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that took almost million lives over 100 days, few Canadians beyond the military were aware of the severe psychological damage that witnessing such moral atrocities can cause.

Dallaire’s revelation that he suffered from PTSD and moral injury sustained in operation helped destigmatize these potentially devastating mental conditions among military veterans. But it also helped us understand how all of us can confront moral injury in our daily lives.

On Sept. 22, the former Canadian senator will expound on moral injury and moral courage in light of the many ethical dilemmas we face today — from health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID pandemic, to America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, to the rise of extremist violence around the world — in the first in a series of online conversations. He will be joined by Major General Patrick Cammaert, former UN force commander in Congo, and Congolese-Canadian Michel Chikwanine, who was recruited and used as a soldier when he was just five years old.

Co-hosted by Leiden University in the Netherlands, the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security at Dalhousie University, and the University of Alberta’s HiMARC (Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium), the lecture series will bring together world experts in PTSD, children’s rights, war crimes, humanitarian law and peacekeeping for conversations about leadership and moral dilemma during times of conflict and crisis.

The eight-part series culminates on Nov. 10 with a special Remembrance Day session.


Dalhousie University and its Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, and Security. The Dallaire Institute’s mission is to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. The Dalliare Institute has just embarked on a five-year research program, funded by Veterans Affairs Canada, to study the mental health effects on military personnel who encountered children recruited and used as soldiers and were exposed to other morally injurious events during military service.

The University of Alberta and its Heroes in Mind, Advocacy and Research Consortium (HiMARC) works to improve the lives of Canadian military, veterans, public safety personnel and their families through research, education and service, which includes a provincially funded Veteran-Friendly Campus. Gen. Dallaire received an honorary doctorate from the U of A in 2016.

Leiden University in the Netherlands is hosting the Cleveringa Dallaire Critical Conversation Series. Gen. Dallaire, who was born in the Netherlands, currently holds the 2020-21 Cleveringa Chair at Leiden, which focuses on issues of law, liberty and responsibility.


“Our moral codes are shaped throughout our lives and provide the compass from which we make decisions. Armed forces, like other first responders, regularly encounter circumstances that violate their moral compass, such as children trained to kill, sexually abused, incarcerated or deprived of basic necessities. In the face of these moral violations, moral injury can occur. And I know full well that moral injury can be lethal.”

-       Lieutenant-General (ret’d) the Honourable Roméo Dallaire

“General Dallaire, in his leadership and struggle for peace and justice, has addressed the need to reconcile his feelings of shame and guilt with acceptance and human connection. In revealing his humanity, General Dallaire destigmatizes PTSD and moral injury and models a transformative and engaged approach to leadership in the face of moral dilemma.”

-       Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips, U of A professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and director of HiMARC

To arrange interviews with General Roméo Dallaire or Dr. Suzette Brémault-Phillips, contact:

Amie Filkow

University of Alberta




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