Our team

  • Lieutenant General Romeo A. Dallaire | O.C., C.M.M. G.O.Q. M.S.C, C.D., (Retired)Intact/Dallaire Initiative Senior Fellow and Founder

    Lieutenant General Romeo A. Dallaire | O.C., C.M.M. G.O.Q. M.S.C, C.D., (Retired)

    Intact/Dallaire Initiative Senior Fellow and Founder

    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 adviser, a best-selling author, 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 in 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.  LGen 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.

    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 account: Shake Hands with the Devil: the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2004 and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing awarded by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.  It provided the basis for an Emmy Award-winning documentary as well as a major motion picture of the same name; and, has been entered into evidence in war crimes tribunals trying the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

    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.

    LGen Dallaire was born in Denekamp, Holland, on 25 June 1946, to Canadian Army Sergeant Roméo Louis Dallaire and Catharina Vermaesen Dallaire.  He was raised and educated in Canada, joining le Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean in 1964 (later assuming command of this institution as Brigadier-General in 1989), and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Royal Military College in 1969.  He also attended the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College, the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Virginia, and the United Kingdom Higher Command & Staff Course. LGen Dallaire holds honorary doctorates and fellowships from near three dozen universities in Canada and the United States.

    LGen Dallaire is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec, and a Commander of the Order of Military Merit.  He is the recipient of the United Nations Association of Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal, the Arthur Kroeger College Award for Ethics in Public Affairs from Carleton University, the Laureate of Excellence from the Manitoba Health Sciences Centre, the Elie Wiesel Award from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Harvard University Humanist Award.

    General Dallaire has served on UN Advisory Committees on Genocide Prevention and Peacekeeping Training, and as Special Adviser to Government Ministers on Veterans Affairs, National Defense, and War Affected Children.  He also served as a Canadian Senator from 2005 to 2014.

    However, since the publication of his book (and subsequent documentary) They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers in 2010, General Dallaire’s primary focus has been his work with the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, continually seeking innovative ways to assist militaries worldwide to help eradicate the use of child soldiers, a mission to which he has committed the rest of his life.

  • Dr. Shelly WhitmanExecutive Director

    Dr Shelly Whitman took up the post of Executive Director of The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative in January 2010. Prior to this she has had an academic career teaching in International Development Studies and Political Science at Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University and the University of Botswana. Her research interests have been broadly focused on issues related to peace, development and human security. She has published widely on topics from sexual violence as a weapon of war, to small arms and light weapons, the international criminal court and various perspectives on preventing the use of children in armed conflict.

    From 2000-2002, Shelly worked as Head of Research on the inter-Congolese dialogue, under the direction of Former Botswana President, Sir Ketumile Masire. Previous to this post, she was a Research Consultant at UNICEF, NY and worked under the direction of Ambassador Stephen Lewis on the OAU Rwanda Genocide Report. Shelly introduced a course on Children and Armed Conflict at Dalhousie University in 2009 and is now working towards an introduction of a Certificate Programme on Children and Armed Conflict. In 2014 she was awarded the Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award for her work with the Dallaire Initiative.

  • Josh BoyterDirector of Communications

    Josh Boyter joined the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative as Director of Communications in August 2013. Prior to his role at the Dallaire Initiative, he was the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Journalists for Human Rights based in Toronto.

    Josh Boyter is communications specialist and academic tradesman seeking innovative ways to use communications to address a wide audience. His communications philosophy is underpinned by the concept of modularity—building projects that are sustainable and rapidly scalable through interchangeable outputs and tactics.

    He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in International Development Studies and Social Anthropology and a Master of Arts in International Development Studies, both from Dalhousie University. His research explores the intersections between development and the media.

  • Lori WardDirector of Fund Development, Faculty of Arts and Social Science

    Lori joined the Initiative in 2013 as Director of Fund Development. Prior to her work with the Dallaire Initiative, Lori served for nearly five years as Fund Development and Communications Manager for the Coady International Institute, helping secure major project funding and significantly grow the Institute’s work. She held development positions at The Banff Centre, including Research and Proposal Writer and then Development Officer, Campaign during their successful campaign, which raised $123 million towards capital and programming initiatives. From 2003-2008, Lori served as a Director of the Banff Community Foundation, including two terms as Secretary of the Board. Lori holds a BA (Hons.) form Trent University in Environmental Studies and Comparative Development Studies, and a National Certificate in Fundraising Management from Mount Royal College.

  • Darin Reeves

    Darin joined the Dallaire Initiative on 1 March 2016 as the Director of Training.  He began volunteering with the Initiative in 2012 by writing and researching on issues surrounding International Law and maritime child piracy, and volunteered extensively with the Dallaire Initiative and Dalhousie Maritime Piracy Project in examining this phenomenon through 2014.

    Darin first joined the Canadian Armed Forces reserves in 1985 as a Cadet Instructor Cadre pilot where he served as senior instructor pilot, tow pilot and flight commander teaching Air Cadet youth to fly gliders.  In 1989 Darin transferred from the Reserves to the Regular Force as a Maritime Surface Officer and served in numerous ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.  Transferring to the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) in 2005, as a military lawyer Darin provided operational advice to all elements of the Canadian military and became a very experienced prosecutor within the military Courts Martial system, prosecuting complex matters including internet based crime, crimes against children and other breaches of the National Defence Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.  In 2006 he sailed with and advised the Standing Contingency Force exercising an experimental Joint Operations Deployable Command structure and has advised naval commanders for Operations ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, Operation SEXTANT and Operation SERIOUS.  In 2008 he deployed to Afghanistan as the legal advisor to the 2nd Battalion PPCLI Battle Group, where he advised on all aspects of operational, disciplinary and administrative law.  In 2010 he was tasked to the NATO Joint Force Command Head Quarters in Naples, Italy where he assisted the NATO command team
    led by Lieutenant-General Bouchard in achieving Command Ready Status immediately prior to taking command of the NATO led operations against pro-Kaddafi forces in Libya (Op MOBILE). In 2015 Darin deployed as legal advisor to the deployed Target Engagement Authority in support of Canadian Armed Forces operations in Libya and Syria (Op IMPACT).

    Darin received his Bachelor of Commerce degree (with distinction) from Royal Roads University in 2001 where he was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal and Chancellor’s Award.  He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria Law School in 2004 where he mooted internationally, placing second in the Louis M Brown competition, and received his Masters of Law from the Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law in 2014.  In 2005 Darin was called to the Bar of British Columbia.

  • Aimée Chow
    Aimée Chow became the Executive Assistant to the Founder and Executive Director in May 2017. Prior to joining The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, Aimée spent over 10 years in diverse roles in both the public and private sector, including posts with United Nations Volunteers, UNICEF, a human resources consulting firm, and Saint Mary’s University. Aimée received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from St. Thomas University, where her research focused on the issue of child soldiers, and a Master of Arts in the same from Dalhousie University, where her graduate thesis focused on the essential role women played in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone. In 2013, Aimée was selected as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 Emerging Leaders by 21inc.
  • Josée Barakett

    Josée Barakett joined The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative as the Financial Controller in June 2017. Josée was born in Trois-Rivières, Québec, and graduated from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration (Accounting major) before moving to Nova Scotia.

    In 1999, she completed the CMA designation and has spent most of her career in the Engineering and Offshore industry while raising two beautiful children.

    Josée loves children, is a huge sports fan, and enjoys running, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

  • Victoria BryceMonitoring and Evaluation Specialist

    Victoria moved to Halifax in 2013 and worked at the Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts Network and Institute for two years as the Project Manager/Administrator, and for the Resilience Research Centre as a Researcher/Evaluator. Her previous work has revolved around vulnerable children and youth in the East African context, having worked Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania for numerous NGOs since 2007. Simultaneously, she worked alongside academics and consulting firms in BC on local community development research projects. Victoria received her Bachelors of Arts, Honours in Sociology/Anthropology at the University of Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC and is currently completing her Graduate Certificate in Evaluation through the University of Victoria. In her spare time, she operates as Vice-Chair for Aerosan- Dry Compositing Toilets for Emergency Situations. She is passionate about assisting organizations in designing and implementing practical and user-friendly evaluation designs. She lives in Halifax with her city-planning husband and loves cooking, cycling and exploring coastlines.

  • Jennifer McNeilProgram Officer-Training

    Jennifer joined the initiative in July of 2015 and brought with her the logistical experience necessary for her role as training coordinator.Generally known to run towards a challenge, Jennifer has toiled across the Canadian wilderness as a Treeplanter and Crewboss, acted as a Conflict Resolutions Facilitator with the Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Program in Belfast, thrived as an English Teacher in Taiwan and traveled the globe whenever the opportunity arose.

    Her experience led her to work in Uganda as a Program Support Officer for a local NGO called Uganda Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA). She worked with landmine survivors to develop innovative approaches for support and self-sufficiency by providing capacity building, small business, and soft skills training to help with social reintegration. It was through this program that she first became intimately introduced to the issue of child soldiers.

    Directly prior to joining the Dallaire Initiative, Jennifer worked with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC). Over the years with the CRC, Jennifer held positions within the Humanitarian Issues program, the Respect Education Program with a focus on violence and abuse prevention, Health Equipment Loan Program and Disaster Management. One of her most memorable experiences with the CRC was coordinating the 8 th annual ‘Move Your World’ Youth Conference, in collaboration with the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. This 4-day conference gave youth the opportunity to learn about International Humanitarian Law, Active Global Citizenship, and Ethical volunteerism.

    Jennifer received her Bachelors of Arts in International Development studies with a minor in Philosophy from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  • Joëlle BadmanProgram Administration Officer

    Joëlle recently migrated back to the East Coast after working in Alberta for a number of years. In Edmonton, she spent time leading international service learning programs for high school and university students to Central & South America, in addition to working on engaging students and teachers in global citizenship education. She was an instructor and course developer in the Faculty of Social Work at MacEwan University, focusing on social policy and anti-oppressive practice. Most recently, her work as a community building social worker for the City of Edmonton focused on addressing the issues of gender based violence and sexual assault.

    Joëlle is passionate about public education and facilitation, with a focus on dialogical and transformative learning. She received her Master of Social Work with a specialization in International & Community Development from the University of Calgary in 2011, and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick in 2007.

    In her spare time, Joëlle enjoys drinking coffee while reading works of fiction, chasing her dogs at the park, as well as adventuring around the globe and around the Maritimes, which she is so thrilled to once again call home.