Red Hand Day | A Look at Humanitarian Speakers

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Red Hand Day. Held on February 12 each year, it is an annual day of commemoration on which pleas are made to political leaders and events are staged around the world to draw attention to the fates of children who are forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts. Our very own Lt Gen. Roméo Dallaire is one of the leading voices of change thanks to his Child Soldiers Initiative. They recently announced the launch of a new program, Veteran Trainers to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (VTECS). Graduates of the VTECS program will help prepare their security sector peers for encounters with child soldiers and strengthen their ability to recognize and interrupt recruitment. Learn more here. To mark the occasion, we want to reflect on some our top humanitarian speakers leading change on the international stage: GSA-Divider Dallaire_CSI_175-Peter-Bregg-1100x400

Hon. Roméo Dallaire | International Champion of Human Rights, Award-Winning Author and Leader

Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire’s rescue of thousands in the Rwandan genocide as commander of a UN peacekeeping force, and his heartfelt message of humanity has made him one of the most sought-after speakers in the business and the star of bestselling books and films. On February 10, Dallaire stopped by TIFF and sat down with the director of Hyena Road, Paul Gross for a Post-Screening Q&A. The two had a candid discussion on the representations of children in armed conflict and the Canadian security sector in Hyena Road. You can view the entire session here:



Dr. Samantha Nutt| Global Humanitarian, Founder of War Child & Bestselling Author

Samantha Nutt is an award-winning humanitarian, bestselling author and acclaimed public speaker. A medical doctor and a founder of the renowned international humanitarian organization War Child, Dr. Nutt has worked with children and their families at the frontline of many of the world’s major crises – from Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone to Darfur, Sudan. A leading authority on current affairs, war, international aid and foreign policy, Dr. Nutt is one of the most intrepid and recognized voices in the humanitarian arena.  Women Talking recently sat down for a Q&A with Dr. Nutt for some insight into her crucial international work. In advance of Canada’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, Samantha sat down with ET where she was featured as one of their Trailblazing Women. Samantha closed out 2015 on Broadway as one of the featured speakers on TED Talks Live. From November 3-4 she joined Star Wars’ Adam Driver, Musician Rufus Wainwright, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker (Restrepro, Korengal) Sebastian Junger to discuss the topic of War & Peace. The event was a co-production with PBS, who are set to release a feature on the discussions in Spring of 2016. divider-White-Square

Stephen Lewis| Celebrated Humanitarian & Former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa

Stephen Lewis is one of Canada’s most influential commentators on social affairs, international development and human rights. He has been named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (in the category which included The Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela). Through his AIDS-Free World organization, Lewis co-founded the Code Blue Campaign in mid-2015. This initiative aims to create a strengthened and more accountable response to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. It aims to change the system by spurring an independent investigation into the violations in addition to seeking the removal of immunity status for the UN’s peacekeeping personnel when they are accused of sexual exploitation or abuse. The issue came to the forefront of attention this week when Canadian PM Justin Trudeau met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to discuss the topic. A Global News covered the story here. Lewis offers weekly commentary on international humanitarian issues around the world via a weekly YouTube segment. This past week he covered the World Health Organization’s midlife crisis.


Emmanuel Jal | Musician, Activist & Former Child Soldier

Emmanuel Jal was born into the life of a child solider on an unknown date in the early 1980s in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan. Through unbelievable struggles, Emmanuel managed to survive and go on to emerge as a recording artist, achieving worldwide acclaim for his unique style of hip hop with its message of peace and reconciliation born out of his personal experiences. Emmanuel’s Gua Africa believes that giving everyone access to education will lead to an increase in individuals generating their own income and a more stable society. Their projects combine scholarship programs, teaching in refugee camps and feeding programs. All underpinned by a philosophy of peace education and a dedication to community income generation. A new video series is set to be released focused on Emmanuel’s connection to the South Sudan town of Leer. Here’s a trailer for the series:

His latest single is a collaboration with Canadian icon Nelly Furtado. Shot on location in the slums of Kibera, Kenya, ‘Scars’ is released off Emmanuel s fifth studio album The Key. All proceeds from the album are driven into Emmanuel’s African social enterprise The Key is E.


Amanda Lindhout | Kidnap Survivor, Bestselling Author & Humanitarian

As Founder and Executive Director of The Global Enrichment Foundation (GEF), Amanda has gained international acclaim for her work supporting development and aid in Somalia – the country where she once spent 460 days as a hostage. Her award-winning humanitarian work has provided aid and education to over 300,000 people living in the war-torn country. Amanda’s story of survival in the face of lost hope illustrates the remarkable strength of the human spirit. Amanda recently sat in as a guest host of The Current. On the eve of her debut, she sat down with host Anna Maria Tremonti to share how she is defiantly rebuilding her life by starting Global Enrichment Foundation.

The following day Amanda joined three other survivors (Sarah Shourd, David Rohde and Dr. Dilip Joseph) of captivity for a fascinating discussion on what it’s like to start life again.


A full list of our Humanitarian speakers can be found here. To find out more about how these speakers can bring inspiration & a unique perspective to your event reach out to us.