AWARD CEREMONY, MARCH 31, 2014

 


The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is honored to announce that Roméo Dallaire, a retired lieutenant-general, Senator, and celebrated humanitarian will be the 2014 recipient of the Reflections of Hope Award. In 1993, LGen Dallaire was appointed Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), where he witnessed the country descend into chaos and genocide. More than 800,000 Rwandans were killed in less than 100 days.

LGeneral Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed the command to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces. Dallaire is credited for saving 32,000 people during the Rwandan conflict. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary since this tragedy.

"LGeneral Dallaire speaks for those without a voice. He showed tremendous courage, hope and fortitude in the face of unbelievable annihilation of a society when so many abandoned them and their cause" said Kari Watkins, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. "LGeneral Dallaire lived through horror and has taught hope through it all by his work."

An outspoken advocate for human rights, genocide prevention, and war-affected children, he founded the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, an organization committed to ending the use of child soldiers worldwide. Its unique approach, working with military police and peacekeeping forces, is breaking new ground and is a critical part of interrupting the cycle of recruitment of children by armed groups. According to LGen Dallaire, hundreds of thousands of children are recruited to participate in armed conflicts world-wide. Many of these boys and girls, some as young as eight or nine, are stolen from their families. Their childhood taken, they are maimed, drugged and used as sex slaves, indoctrinated under duress that violence is an acceptable part of life.

"It is my aim in life to eradicate even the thought of using children and youths as weapons of conflict and war" said Senator Dallaire.

 


 

 

OKLAHOMA CITY NATIONAL MEMORIAL & MUSEUM • 620 N. HARVEY AVE. • OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73102 • 405.235.3313