Press Release: VTECS Program Launches in Halifax

The Dallaire Initiative

March 09, 2023

For Immediate Release


June 29th 2017


VTECS Program Launches in Halifax

Twelve Veterans participate in program at Dalhousie University to support the Dallaire Initiative’s mission to end the use of child soldiers.


Halifax, NS—On July 3rd, the Dallaire Initiative welcomes its second cohort of twelve veterans into the Wounded Warriors Canada Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (VTECS) program at Dalhousie University. This year’s cohort consists of twelve Canadian Armed Forces Veterans and in a first for the program, an RCMP veteran.

“We are excited to build off the tremendous success of our inaugural graduating class last year,” states Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. “Through VTECS we amplify our efforts to end the use of children as weapons of war”

In the past year, 6 alumni of the first cohort participated in the Dallaire Initiative’s world-class training to prevent the use of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Kenya and Rwanda as trainers. Other inaugural graduates have conducted advocacy presentations across Canada on the issue of child soldiers and assisted with the development of resources and training for the Dallaire Initiative.

“The VTECS program offers former members of the Canadian Armed Forces an opportunity to repurpose their knowledge and skills that will help the Romeo Dallaire Initiative to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers. One can choose to ignore the problem, or you can become part of the security sector solution to make the world a better place,” states Ken Hoffer, Inaugural VTECS Alumni and Dallaire Initiative trainer.

The program will run for the month of July at Dalhousie University and consist of four classes, two-credited university courses on international politics and children and war along with two courses on the Dallaire Initiative’s training to prevent the use of child soldiers. The four classes blend the theoretical perspective and practical skills VTECS graduates will require in supporting the mission of the Dallaire Initiative.

Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “At Wounded Warriors Canada we continue to work with Veterans who find it difficult to apply their training and expertise in civilian life. The VTECS program is a force multiplier – leveraging the skills of our highly trained Veterans while also providing transition support; access to an academic environment; credits and potential employment opportunities. This, all the while working to address a critical security issue of our time: the use and recruitment of children as weapons of war. We are proud to fund this outstanding program and extend our best wishes to the second cohort.”

The program officially launches with the first of two public lectures at Halifax Central Library on July 5th at 7:00pm in the Paul O’Regan Hall with LGen Roméo Dallaire, founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and Jon Somer, expert on the engagement of armed non-state actors in the protection of children. This event is free and open to the public.


For Press Inquires

Josh Boyter

Director of Communications, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

1 902 494 2392 (office)

1 902 489. 6767 (cell)


Scott Maxwell

Executive Director, Wounded Warriors Canada

289-388- 6181


About the Organizations

The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative

The Dallaire Initiative, based at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, is recognized as the only organization in the world taking a prevention-oriented, security sector focused approach to the crime against humanity that is child soldiery. Founded by retired lieutenant-general and celebrated humanitarian Roméo Dallaire, The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative is a leader committed to ending the use and recruitment of child soldiers worldwide, through ground-breaking research, advocacy, and security-sector training.

Wounded Warriors Canada

Wounded Warriors Canada is a non-profit organization that supports Canada’s ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans, First Responders and their families. Through a wide range of national programs and services, Wounded Warriors is dedicated to providing programs focused on mental health and, particularly, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

About Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Recruitment and use of Child Soldiers (VTECS)

Wounded Warriors Canada VTECS is an innovative program designed to engage military veterans on the issue of child soldiers by combining university level education with world class training. As they reform their skills and experiences, Canadian Forces Veterans become community educators and advocates, championing the Dallaire Initiative’s vision of a world where children are no longer recruited or used as weapons of war.