Retired lieutenant-general, former Canadian senator and best-selling author Roméo Dallaire will receive the first-ever Public Humanist award on March 15 from the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Humanities.
Since his time in Rwanda, Dallaire has dedicated his life to humanitarian efforts and is striving to eradicate the use of children in conflict. In addition, he has worked as an advocate for veterans returning from combat.
According to a press release from the university, Dallaire’s deep humanitarian commitment evokes the spirit, impact and importance of humanities. “His life’s work enriches human dignity, provokes critical inquiry and inspires human feelings.”
Chris Goto-Jones, dean of humanities, says the retired lieutenant-general embodies the ethos of the faculty’s newly launched Humanities Award.
“He’s well known as a humanitarian and a leader, but also as an accomplished writer and a generous, honest observer of the human spirit,” said Goto-Jones, adding the characteristics of someone receiving an award are very visible through Dallaire.
“Through his cultivated commitments and his actions, Dallaire has sought to change the world for the better, which is precisely what we seek to recognize with these new awards.”
This isn’t the first award Dallaire has received for his commitment to humanitarian work. Dallaire has co-written three books including Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, which won the 2003 Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing and 2004 Governor General’s Award for nonfiction.
Dallaire will accept the Public Humanist award and deliver a keynote address at the Faculty of Humanities awards gala taking place at the Baumann Centre.
Science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin and UVic alumna Ashli Akins will also be honoured at the event.
Le Guin, who died last year at age 88, will be posthumously honoured with the Historic Humanist Award for her visionary work as a thinker and writer, authoring more than 50 books.
Akins, who graduated from UVic with a bachelor of arts, will receive the Emerging Humanist Award for founding a non-profit initiative called Mosqoy.
The initiative, in collaboration with Indigenous Quechua communities of the Peruvian Andes, has supported the post-secondary education of more than 70 students and has promoted the artisan work of 150 women through fair trade.
Tickets to the Faculty of Humanities Awards gala are available here.
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