Leadership development

Empowering Scholars to become the Engaged Leaders of tomorrow 


Through its Scholarship, Fellowship and Mentorship programs, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation focuses on the leadership development of our Scholars. The objective is to empower them to have meaningful impact in the world by equipping them with the tools to be leaders in their institutions and communities, and instilling in them values crucial for Engaged Leaders, such as resilience, empathy, collaboration, openness to diverse perspectives, and innovation.    

The following six key elements guide our leadership curriculum:  

  1. Encouraging audacity & resilience, which includes the ability to take risks and go beyond one’s comfort zone; 
  2. Developing communication skills in order to effectively share one’s research findings and expertise outside academia; 
  3. Incorporating artistic & creative practices of various forms, to help Scholars broaden their perspective and prompt them to think about their work in original ways; 
  4. Engaging with diversity in its many forms, including diversity in terms of ideas, knowledge, teaching and learning practices; 
  5. Fostering interpersonal skills to collaborate effectively with diverse people across sectors; 
  6. Valuing emotional intelligence, empathy and community engagement 

Our Fellows and Mentors play a central role in the leadership development of our Scholars.They offer leadership training during the Institutes of Engaged Leadership (year one) and support Scholars in the development of a public conference (year two) anda creative project (year three).  

In order to bring a practical context to the idea of leadership, the leadership training provided to Scholars isbased on a scientific theme, which is chosen because of thesocial importance of the issues it raises and its interdisciplinary dimensions. This innovative model aims to help Scholars to look beyond their areas of expertise and develop a desire to engage with people, issues and ideas typically outside their academic training. The scientific themes of the current and upcoming program cycles are presented below.   

2020 - 2023 cycle: Technology and Ethics 

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation will focus on the theme of  Technology and Ethics” in its cycle of leadership programs beginning in 2020-2021. Considering major issues raised by recent technological advances in the areas of biotechnology and artificial intelligence, our 2020 Scholars, Fellows, and Mentors will particularly focus on developments in biotechnology and on the incorporation of artificial intelligence into health care systems. How is humanity shaped by advances in these areas, and, in turn, how can we shape them on the basis of ethical principles? This is the core question that will direct our scientific cycle.  

More details on the scientific theme are available in our guidance document here

As part of our thematic cycle Technology & Ethics, we will hold the following events in 2020-2021: 

  • Community retreat in Moncton (New Brunswick), from June 17th, 2020 to June 19th, 2020  

  • Institute of Engaged Leadership in Montreal (Quebec), November 2020 (dates to be confirmed) 

  • Institute of Engaged Leadership in Helsinki (Finland), March 2021 (dates to be confirmed) 

2019 - 2022 cycle: Power and Knowledge 

The 2019-2022 program cycle of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation focuses on the dynamic relationship between Power and Knowledge. Power represents authority and the ability to set and impose standards. Knowledge is understanding authority, where it is derived and through which mechanisms and structures. Knowledge also produces power effects. Understanding power-knowledge relationships and the roots of power imbalances is essential to changing situations of social injustices.  

The first official Institute of Engaged Leadership took place in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (27 October – 2 November 2019). The second Institute of Engaged Leadership will take place in Washington, D.C. (15 March – 21 March 2020). These two unique and different locations allow us to take a deep dive into what Power & Knowledge mean in two very different contexts; one, a rural, Northern location and the other a centre of Western, political power.