Lieutenant General Roméo A. Dallaire has, over a 35-year career in the military, combined his exemplary humanitarian vision with the highest ethical military principles. He has been honoured on numerous occasions for outstanding professionalism, honour, altruism, resourcefulness and bravery.
Dallaire's dedication to world peace, self-sacrifice and courage saved the lives of thousands of Rwandans in 1994, when he led the United Nations (UN) mission in Rwanda. Although he and his UN troops did not have the mandate to intervene in the genocide that occurred there, he did not freeze in the face of horror. Against political pressure to take sides in the conflict, Dallaire remained impartial, and his courage, compassion and integrity earned him one of Canada's most prestigious military honours, the Meritorious Service Cross. In January, he received the inaugural Aegis Award from the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Great Britain.
Born in the Netherlands, Dallaire joined the Canadian army cadets at 14, and attended the Royal Military College at St-Jean and Kingston. During his military career, he has occupied a variety of commands at national and international levels, and become one of the most decorated Canadian soldiers.
In the spring of 2000, Dallaire retired early from the military to become special advisor to the Canadian minister for international co-operation, tending to the plight of children in war-torn countries.