North America Regional Meeting

North America Regional Meeting

The North America region consultation areas of focus:

  • Refugees
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Race

Meeting Summary:

Meeting Video:


Monday, August 17

12:00 p.m.–12:10 p.m. | Welcome, Expectations, Introductions
Faisal bin Muaammar, KAICIID
Shaun Casey, Georgetown University
Cole Durham, Brigham Young University

12:10 p.m.–12:25 p.m. | Keynote Address
Roméo Dallaire, Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

12:25 p.m.–12:45 p.m. | Conversation on Refugees and Forced Migration
Aden Batar, Catholic Community Services
Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., Georgetown University

12:45 p.m.–1:05 p.m. | Conversation on Religious Responses to COVID-19
Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service
Olivia Wilkinson, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities

1:05 p.m.–1:25 p.m. | Conversation on Anti-Racism and Religious Responsibilities
Ganoune Diop, Seventh-day Adventist Church
Audrey Kitagawa, Parliament of the World’s Religions

1:25 p.m.–1:30 p.m. | Wrap-up
Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University

Friday, August 21

12:00 p.m.–12.30 p.m. | Overall Reflections and Lessons
Mohammed Abu-Nimer, KAICIID
Cole Durham, Brigham Young University
Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University

12:30 p.m. –12:55 p.m. | Topic-specific Reflections and Lessons
Ganoune Diop, Seventh-day Adventist Church
Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., Georgetown University
Olivia Wilkinson, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities

12:55 p.m.–1:00 p.m. | Conclusion
Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University

Keynote Speaker:

Lieutenant-General (ret) The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire

O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q., M.S.C., C.D., L.O.M. (U.S.), B.ésS., LL.D. (Hon.), D.Sc.Mil (Hon.), D.U.

Roméo Dallaire is founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, a global partnership with the mission to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.  A celebrated advocate for human rights, especially in regards to child soldiers, veterans, and the prevention of mass atrocities, General Dallaire is also a respected government and UN advisor and former Canadian Senator.

Throughout his distinguished military career, General Dallaire served in staff, training, and command positions through North America, Europe, and Africa, rising in rank from Army Cadet in 1960 to Lieutenant-General in 1998.

Most notably, General Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide.  General Dallaire provided the United Nations with information about the planned massacre, which ultimately took more than 800,000 lives in less than 100 days; yet, permission to intervene was denied and the UN withdrew its peacekeeping forces.  General Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian and Tunisian 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.

His courage and leadership during this mission earned him the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention, and the affection and admiration of people around the globe.  His defiant dedication to humanity during that mission has been well-documented in films and books, including his own award-winning account: Shake Hands with the Devil: the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.

General Dallaire’s 1997 revelation that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a direct result of his mission in Rwanda paved the way for destigmatizing this potentially-lethal Operational Stress Injury among military veterans as well as first-responders.  Though it led to his being medically released from the Canadian Army in 2000, he has devoted decades of passionate leadership and advocacy to the issue on behalf of other veterans struggling with PTSD, including the publication of his bestselling memoir: Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD.

However, with his acclaimed book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers, General Dallaire proclaimed that the rest of his life will be devoted to the eradication of the use of children in war, and through the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative he continually seeks innovative ways to help end the use of child soldiers.

Whether as military commander, humanitarian, senator or author, Roméo Dallaire has penetrated our national consciousness, often in supremely uncomfortable ways. Setting aside his natural reserve, he has felt compelled to bring national and international attention to situations too-often ignored, whether the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, the struggle that he and many other military veterans face with post-traumatic stress disorder, or the recruitment and use of child soldiers.–

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