Finalists for the 2009 Peace medals

10.11.2009 - Montreal - Anne Farrell

This ceremony to be held on November 13th, at the Hyatt Regency Montreal (Complexe Desjardins) at noon.

In a world where the notion of peace is often left by the wayside in many nations, The YMCAs of Québec wishes to pay tribute to the exceptional contribution of individuals who demonstrate vision, creativity, and dedication in the promotion of peaceful causes, often with very little human, material, and financial resources.

This year, the YMCAs will also award an honorary medal to Senator and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire in recognition of his commitment to maintaining peace at the local, national, and international levels. A respected member of the international community, Roméo Dallaire had a distinguished career in the Canadian military reaching the rank of Lieutenant-General before becoming Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources) in the Department of National Defence in 1998. In 1994, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).

Senator Dallaire is said to be honoured to be receiving the 2009 Peace medal. *“I am touched to be receiving this award from my very own community. Making peace, promoting it, inspiring it; it can be achieved daily through small and grand gestures. I work to promote peace; something I believe in deeply. I also work with conviction in order to ensure that our children, who are the future generations of Canada or of other countries, live in a world where peace is fundamentally, universally, and absolutely valued. I would like to congratulate the seventeen 2009 Peace Medal nominees, in their respective categories. You have made a difference in the promotion of peace, and this is something worth recognition and the respect of your peers”* he stated.

Since his retirement from the Canadian military, Senator Dallaire has worked to raise the public’s awareness and to promote peace. Notably, he has been a lecturer at Canadian and American universities, he has published several articles on conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance, human rights, genocide prevention, and has taken a stance during the civil war in Darfur. He has also worked to bring an understanding to the Canadian population regarding post-traumatic stress disorder.
While a Fellow of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University), Roméo Dallaire pursued research on conflict resolution. He is currently leading a project aimed at creating a conceptual framework for eliminating the use of child soldiers, and also manages activities aimed at the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

**2009 Finalists**

**Individuals:**

**Halah Al-Ubaidi:** Mrs. Al-Ubaidi organized, strengthened, and helped make various local focus groups in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce more dynamic.

**Pierre Jasmin:** president of *‘Artists for Peace’*, Mr. Jasmin organizes musical evenings for peace, along with other organizations, rallies to fight against nuclear weapons and war.

**Helen Knight:** Mrs. Knight founded the Creative Social Centre in 1982.

**André Leclerc:** is founder of Kéroul. For over 30 years now, Mr. Leclerc has helped improve the quality of life of individuals who have a physical disability.

**Albert Mc Ardle:** Chief Topleaf, his Mohawk name, has spent his life building bridges between native and non-native cultures.  Working with Scouts and Guides, he travels the country giving conference presentations and workshops in elementary schools.

**François Prévost:** producer of the movie *“Ce qu’il reste de nous”*, Mr. Prévost has travelled throughout Tibet in order to spread the word of the Dalai Lama. He is also the founder of *“Médecins pour la Paix”*.

**Louis Roberge:** Mr. Roberge is the first vice-president of the Fondation Jules et Paul-Émile Léger, member of the management committee, and a volunteer for eighteen years now.

**Gigi Vidal:** herself an immigrant, Mrs. Vidal now helps new arrivals while helping to protect their rights.

**Catherine Kissell:** Mrs. Kissell has contributed to the construction of a hospital in a small village in Tibet. She has also offered the villagers hygiene courses and tetanus vaccinations.

**Noreen Majeeed:** Mrs. Majeed has participated in many projects aimed at eliminating racism in Montreal. She has also taken part in various international support groups.

**Nadia Van Leeuwen:** For many years now, Mrs. Van Leeuwen has been volunteering in a Montreal shelter for individuals suffering from HIV/Aid.

**Claudine- Michèle Desjardins:** Mrs. Desjardins lived in Mali for three months in order to help women create a micro-credit organization, which allowed them to become financially independent.

**Groups:**

**Dr. Clown:** Dr. Clown is a theatre group composed of 27 professional artists with backgrounds in theatre, clown games, dance, or music.

**Leadership Services Youth and Sexualization Project:** is a project aimed at raising the awareness of young girls and women regarding violence and sexual abuse.

**Exeko:** Exeko is an organization that works both at the local and international levels, by supporting or carrying out projects that combine social and cultural action.

**Okala Foundation:** an organization that helps children in isolated villages in Cameroon by providing them with the tools necessary for them to  successfully continue their studies in order to achieve a better quality of life  and to give them hope.

**Handicap International:** Handicap International is committed to the fight against the use of landmines since 1982, and against the use of cluster bombs since 2003.

**About The YMCAs of Québec**
The first YMCA in North America was founded in Montreal in November 1851.  The mission of this charitable organization is to promote the development of people in spirit, mind, and body, and to the empowerment of individuals, families, and communities.  Its ten centres are visited each year by more than 100,000 people who benefit from its health, fitness and recreation, and education and training programs, as well as its children and youth programs, its community and international initiatives, and its donations and volunteering. The YMCAs of Québec is part of the Canadian network of 54 YMCA associations.

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