10 June 2016

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is proud to present the 2016 recipients of its unique doctoral scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. The fifteen newest Trudeau scholars are exceptional students who have distinguished themselves through academic excellence, and civic engagement. The cohort joins a multidisciplinary network of almost 400 researchers, outstanding intellectuals, and seasoned decision-makers committed to applying their knowledge and skills to pressing Canadian and global issues.

The 2016 Trudeau scholars:


Aytak Akbari-Dibavar (international relations, York University) is investigating the intergenerational transmission of political trauma in authoritarian states, such as Iran, where public life is tightly controlled.


Samuel Blouin (sociology and religious studies, Université de Montréal and Université de Lausanne): Drawing on field research, Samuel is analyzing how two approaches to assisted dying – Quebec’s and Vaud, Switzerland’s – are testing boundaries in medicine, law, and life itself.



Sébastien Brodeur-Girard (law, Université de Montréal) is researching ways to reconcile Western law and Indigenous legal traditions with the help of relational law, a theory that places relationships at the center of legal thought and practice.



Heather Bullock (health policy, McMaster University) is identifying the best ways to embed mental health policy into daily practice across the different layers of Canada’s social system.



Christopher Campbell-Duruflé (international law, University of Toronto) analyzes how new rules of international law resulting from United Nations climate change negotiations might allow Canada and other international actors to respond to climate change in innovative ways.



Marie-Ève Desroches (urban studies, Institut national de la recherche scientifique) is investigating the factors that influence the adoption of inclusive municipal policies designed to reduce health inequity in Canada.



Anna Dion (family medicine, McGill University) is seeking to improve the quality and access to maternity care for marginalized women in Canada, especially immigrant and refugee women, and at-risk adolescents.



Ido Katri (law, University of Toronto) is proposing an approach to promoting gender self-determination that accounts for the diversity of transgendered people’s unique challenges and values their lived experiences of the law.


Gerard Kennedy (law, York University) is exploring how Canadian civil procedure can be reformed to increase access to justice and improve relations among Canadians.



Gillian McKay (public health, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) is researching ways to provide safe maternal health services during infectious disease epidemics in post-conflict countries such as Sierra Leone.



Cynthia Morinville (geography, University of Toronto) is exploring the lived experiences of informal workers in the global South who extract rare metals from discarded electronic waste. Her research uses documentary filmmaking and photography to tell the e-waste story in a new way.


Antoine Pellerin (law, Université Laval) hopes to propose a new legal and administrative framework for public contracts that better balances the public interest and freedom of contract.



Cherry Smiley (communications, Concordia University). Cherry’s research aims to help end sexualized violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.



Jesse Thistle (history, York University) is studying the lives of Metis people living on road allowances – makeshift communities built on Crown land along roads and railways on the Canadian Prairies in the 20th century.



Pauline Voon (population and public health, University of British Columbia) is exploring how the link between pain management and addiction may affect risky drug use behaviours, health outcomes, and clinical practices and policies.

About the Trudeau scholarship
Over their three-year doctoral scholarship, Trudeau scholars work with an engaged and inspiring community of fellows, mentors, and other scholars who support their professional growth. Scholars’ $60,000 annual scholarship package includes a $20,000 travel and networking allowance that facilitates scholars’ fieldwork and helps them organize and participate in research initiatives, conferences and Foundation events. Since the program’s inception in 2003, the Foundation has awarded 202 scholarships for an investment of $21 million in Canada’s intellectual leadership. The call for applications for the 2017 scholarship competition will launch on 1 September 2016.

About the Foundation
The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is an independent and nonpartisan charity established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former prime minister by his family, friends, and colleagues. In 2002, with the support of the House of Commons, the Government of Canada endowed the Foundation with the Advanced Research in the Humanities and Human Sciences Fund. The Foundation also benefits from private donations. By granting doctoral scholarships, awarding fellowships, appointing mentors, and holding public events, the Foundation encourages critical reflection and action in four areas important to Canadians: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada in the world, and people and their natural environment.

Aytak Akbari-Dibavar

Aytak (international relations, York University) is investigating the intergenerational transmission of political trauma in authoritarian states, where public life is tightly controlled.

2016 Scholars