2014 Hiroshima Prizes to be presented to Senator Roméo Dallaire
and Kettly Noël, dancer and choreographer
Press release from the Hiroshima Foundation on 24 March 2014
The Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture has decided to award its two prizes for 2014 to the Canadian General (retired) and Senator Roméo Dallaire and the dancer and choreographer Kettly Noël. Senator Dallaire is the founder of the Child Soldiers Initiative and the author of several books. Kettly Noël is originally from Haiti but now based in Mali where she has founded a centre for African contemporary dance. Biographies of the two recipients are set out below.
Senator Dallaire will give a lecture in Stockholm on 14 April 2014 at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska Institutet) when he will be presented with his award. Kettly Noël will receive her award on 18 May 2014 in the context of the International Dance and Theatre Festival in Gothenburg.
The Hiroshima Foundation was created in 1989 following a bequest by the Swedish author Edita Morris (1902-1988) who was married to the American author Ira Morris (1903-1972). It is named after Edita Morris’ most famous novel The Flowers of Hiroshima which describes the suffering caused by the atomic bomb. Edita and Ira Morris’ son Ivan Morris (1925-1976) was professor in Japanology and one of the first interpreters sent into Hiroshima after the explosion of the bomb.
For its 2014 awards, the Board of the Foundation has turned its eyes to Africa and decided to honour two outstanding personalities who, in very different ways, contribute to the defence of human dignity and the widening of African horizons. In taking this decision the Board observed with regard to the two recipients:
“After witnessing cruel warfare in Africa, General Roméo Dallaire has become a staunch defender of human rights and a vigorous crusader against the wide-spread exploitation of children as soldiers in domestic wars.”
“Ms Kettly Noel is a master of modern dance, a choreographer and a path-breaker in African culture. From her native Haiti she has moved to Benin and Mali, where she has founded the International Dance festival known as Dense Bamako Danse as well as Donko Seko, a space for dance workshops and choreographic research, involving in particular children and young people.”
The Foundation presents awards to women and men who contribute, in a cultural field, to fostering dialogue, understanding and peace in conflict areas. The award is now presented, in principle, every second year. No award was given in 2012. The 2010 prize was awarded to the British documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto. In 2008 the award was presented to the principals of two schools in Sri Lanka in recognition of their efforts to foster mutual understanding for Tamil and Sinhalese culture. The 2006 prize was given to Elena Nemirovskaya, Director and founder of the Moscow School of Political Studies. In 2004 the prize was awarded to Borka Pavićević, founder of the Centre for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade, with additional prizes to Biljana Srbljanović and Jasmina Tesanović, Serbian authors and peace activists. Further information on the Foundation, including a biography of Edita Morris and a full list of recipients of previous awards, can be found on the Foundation’s website http://www.hiroshimafoundation.net .
The Board of the Foundation is composed of Professor Daniel Tarschys, chairman, Suzanne Osten, Thomas Ouchterlony, Chandras Rajakaruna, Sara Gidlund and Elisabeth Toll.
Lieutenant-General The Honorable Roméo A. Dallaire, O.C., C.M.M., G.O.Q., M.S.C., C.D., L.O.M. (U.S.) (Retired), B.ésS., LL.D. (Hon.), D.Sc.Mil (Hon.), D.U. , Senator, Senate of Canada
Biographical Sketch: Roméo Dallaire is a Canadian Senator (appointed to the Senate effective March 24, 2005 and sits as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada) and retired Canadian Army Lieutenant-General. A devoted humanitarian, Lieutenant General (LGen) Dallaire is President of the Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire Foundation; founder of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative (RDCSI), a project aimed at eradicating the use of child soldiers; an outspoken advocate for Human Rights, particularly War-Affected Children, Women, the Canadian First Nations, and Military Veterans; a respected champion of Genocide Prevention initiatives, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, as well as a best-selling author.
Throughout his distinguished military career, LGen 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, LGen Dallaire was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) prior to and during the 1994 genocide. LGen 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 is well-documented (e.g. The Last Just Man, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire, The Lion, The Fox, and The Eagle), as are the personal consequences he continues to suffer and his subsequent commitment to fellow victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Upon being medically released from the Canadian Army in 2000, LGen Dallaire has served on the UN Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, as Special Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, as Advisor to the Minister of National Defense, and as Special Advisor to the Minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency on matters relating to War Affected Children.
LGen Dallaire was born in Denekamp, Holland, on 25 June 1946, to Canadian Army Sergeant Roméo Louis Dallaire and Catharina Johanna Vermaesen. 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, and the Harvard University Humanist Award.
He is author of two best-selling books. His harrowing experiences in Rwanda are detailed in 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; it has also been entered into evidence in war crimes tribunals trying the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. LGen Dallaire’s most recent book, They Fight Like Soldiers; They Die Like Children – the Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers, introduces the Child Soldier phenomenon and solutions to eradicate it: a mission to which LGen Dallaire has committed the rest of his life
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Originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, choreographer and dancer Kettly Noël has created a body of dance work over the past 15 years, seen widely in Africa and Europe, that deals with identity and the fight for position of African artists and women, and includes Ti’chelbé, Errance, L’Autre, Zones Humides Imaginaires and Bonjour Madame Noël. She began dancing at the age of 17 with the Haitian-American Dance Theatre (now World Dance Theatre), and relocated to Paris in the early 1990s, where she trained as a dancer and actress and founded her first company. In 1996, she moved to Benin, where she continued to develop her choreographic technique while starting a program to train youngsters in contemporary dance. Ms. Noël relocated to Mali in 1999, and founded Donko Seko, an organization where she built a space for dance workshops and choreographic research (with the first dance floor in Bamako); established the Bamako Dance Festival (the first international festival of contemporary dance in Mali); and expanded her dance training program for youth and adults. In 2010 and 2012 Donko Seko hosted the biennial Danse L’Afrique dance festival.