8 March 2019

We are taking a moment this International Women’s Day to celebrate trailblazing women, to reflect on progress and to call for continuing change to advance gender equality. The 2019 Women’s Day theme: Think equal, build smart, innovate for change, is a natural fit with the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation’s core values ​​of inclusion, diversity and excellence.

We are proud to have achieved gender parity on our Board of Directors and continue to award a diverse group of Scholars and build relationships with inspiring Mentors and Fellows who share their knowledge that flows from rich and varied backgrounds, experiences, and fields of expertise.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, here are six inspirational women who are a part of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation community.


Haideh Moghissi, 2011 Fellow:

After a prolific career in Iran as an archivist, Haideh Moghissi became an internationally acclaimed analyst of women's issues in the Muslim world and widely published scholar on religion, gender and politics in the Middle East.

Born and raised in Iran, she was one of the founders of the Iranian National Union of Women. Her body of research has been consistently and profoundly informed by her resolute commitment to meaningful, sustainable change, to social justice, and to gender democracy in the Middle East. Haideh Moghissi is a professor in the Department of Equity Studies at York University.


Erin Aylward, 2015 Scholar:

Erin Aylward is a practitioner and researcher of transnational advocacy, gender equality, and LGBTQ human rights. While pursuing her Masters Degree, Erin also worked with FemNorthNet, a project of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, which investigates the gendered impacts of resource development in Northern Canada.

She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto researching the polarization of sexual and reproductive health rights and LGBTI rights within U.N. human rights mechanisms.


Malinda Smith, 2018 Fellow:

Dr. Malinda S. Smith is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, where she conducts research and teaches in the areas of international relations, African Studies, gender and politics, and critical race and diversity studies. Born and raised in The Bahamas, Professor Smith seeks to address the absence of Black women in many of the stories that Canadians tell about themselves by excavating and bringing to light these hidden histories.

Dr. Smith isnationally recognized as a leader in promoting policies and strategies to advance equity, human rights and decolonial practices.


Mélanie Millette, Board Director, President of the PETF Alumni Network and 2011 Scholar:

Mélanie Millette’s field of expertise focuses on the political and cultural uses of social media and the issues of visibility and public participation among members of minority and marginalized groups. Her expertise also touches on the ethical issues of research, especiallysurrounding digital methodology and data in the context of feminist and intersectional approaches. 

Mélanie Millette is a 2011 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, the President of the Alumni Network and sits on our Board of Directors. She is a professor at the Department of Social and Public Communications at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).


Libe Garcia Zarranz, 2010 Scholar:

Libe Garcia Zarranz is Associate Professor of Literature in English at the Department of Teacher Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

She researches at the intersection of contemporary Canadian literature, feminist and queer philosophy, trans literature and visual art, affect theory, and transnational studies.

Prior to joining NTNU, she taught critical theory and gender studies at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral work was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal in 2013.


Barbara Doran, 2017 Mentor:

Barbara Doran is a filmmaker, activist and businesswoman. She founded Morag Loves Company in 1983 and has since, written, directed, and produced more than 35 internationally acclaimed documentaries and dramas.

She fell into the world of filmmaking by way of the then most unpopular and revolutionary women’s movement in Newfoundland. As a founding member of The Status of Women Council in 1972 and a graduate of Memorial University’s Women’s Studies Program, she was invited by the National Film Board in Montreal to research and write a series of films on battered women, and her career was launched.