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Renowned mental health advocate Roméo Dallaire takes up post as Honourary Chair of Canadian organization for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness and research

(London, Ontario)  The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Association of Canada is pleased to announce that the Honourable Roméo Dallaire has accepted the position of the Association’s Honourary Chair effective immediately.

The Honourable Roméo Dallaire has had a distinguished career in the Canadian military achieving the rank of Lieutenant-General and Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources.  In 1994, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and his experiences there, in the midst of a genocide that claimed 800,000 lives in 100 days, became the subject of his 2003 award-winning book, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.

Due to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he suffered from the horrors of the genocide, General Dallaire was medically released from the military in 2000.  Called to the Senate of Canada 2005, Senator Dallaire has continued to work tirelessly as an author, lecturer and humanitarian to raise awareness of PTSD and to champion research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of PTSD.

“As Honourary Chair, I look forward to assisting the PTSD Association in its efforts to further the public’s understanding of PTSD, particularly as it affects soldiers, veterans and their families,” Senator Dallaire said.  “The Association boasts an impressive roster of clinical advisors and researchers who have contributed greatly to our knowledge of PTSD and who will continue to make advances in this important field.”

“We are extremely grateful and fortunate that Senator Dallaire has accepted our invitation to be Honourary Chair,” said Ute Lawrence, the Association’s founder and CEO and author of The Power of Trauma: Conquering post-traumatic stress disorder.  “His personal commitment to raising awareness and advocating for those affected by PTSD is inspiring,” she said.  “We could not have identified a better public figure than Senator Dallaire to support the goals and mission of our organization.”

According to Dr. Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Chair of the clinical advisory board to the PTSD Association of Canada, the lifetime prevalence rate of PTSD in Canada is approximately 9%.  With this kind of statistic, Founder Ute Lawrence, herself a sufferer of PTSD following a horrific car crash in 1999, saw the tremendous need for education and resources into the disorder.  She created the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Association to educate the public and professionals about the nature of, responses to, and curative measures for PTSD, and to share information and resources with the public and persons suffering with PTSD.

Additional biographical information—Lieutenant General the Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q, M.S.C., C.D., (Retired), Senator

The Honourable Roméo Dallaire had a distinguished career in the Canadian military, achieving the rank of Lieutenant-General and Assistant Deputy Minister of Human Resources. In 1994, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). His experiences there became the subject of the book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, which was awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2004 and was the basis of a full-length feature film released in 2007. Medically released in 2000, due to PTSD, Senator Dallaire has worked as an author, lecturer and humanitarian, conducting research on conflict resolution and child soldiers at the Kennedy School at Harvard. He is now continuing his research on child soldiers and is about to publish a second book on this subject. General Dallaire helped reform the assistance provided to the new generation of veterans particularly affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. General Dallaire was appointed to the Senate effective March 24, 2005, and is the Vice-Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. He was appointed with Bishop Desmond Tutu to the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention in the spring of 2006 and is a Fellow at the Montreal Institute of Genocide Studies, Concordia University. He is an officer in the Order of Canada since 2002, a recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal in 2005, a Grand Officer of the Order of Québec in 2006.