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September 18, 2006

Psychology lecturer attends international conference on children in militias

Psychology lecturer Tony Hoffman attended a conference on the prevention of child recruitment into militaries that was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Canadian government professionals.

The workshop, "Expanding the Dialogue: Stopping Child Soldiering", was held August 27-31 in Winnipeg, Canada.

The gathering focused on developing strategies for demobilizing and preventing child soldier recruitment through coordinating the efforts of the United Nations, peacekeeping forces, human rights agencies, local governments, humanitarian agencies, and academic research. A recruitment-prevention simulation will be held in spring 2007.

Hoffman presented a discussion of postwar demobilization and peace-building programs for youth in Sierra Leone.

The gathering was hosted by senator and former lieutenant general Roméo Dallaire, a leader of Canadian peacekeeping forces and the author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. Also attending the workshop were the Canadian foreign minister, three generals in peacekeeping forces, representatives from the UN, USAID, UNICEF, Save the Children, Human Rights Watch, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Canadian Defense Forces, Indian Defense Forces, International Alert, Search for Common Ground, and others.

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