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Jennifer Langlais

  • Scholar 2007
  • Alumni
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S.J.D. (Law) and Junior Boulton Fellow
Harvard University and McGill University

    Jennifer has a bachelor of law from the Université Laval, a master's in public international law from the University of Oxford and master's in human rights from Harvard University. After clerking with Justice Louis Lebel of the Supreme Court of Canada, she worked for several international organizations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in New Delhi, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights in Banjul and the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo. These inspiring and eye-opening work experiences abroad profoundly changed her vision of the human rights discourse and practice and largely motivated her return to school.

    Today, Jennifer is pursuing a SJD in law at Harvard University in Massachusetts. She is interested in processes of racialization, post-colonial studies and the management of diversity in so-called immigration countries. Her research centres on Canadian nationalism and the construction of a multicultural identity for Canada. Although she plans to remain active in the NGO network, she would like to devote herself to research and teaching.

    Experience as a Trudeau Scholar

    My Trudeau Scholarship gave me the fantastic gift of four years of ideal research conditions. For one thing, the generous bursary from the Foundation allowed me to dedicate myself completely to my research and to enjoy total freedom of exploration during my theoretical studies. At the same time, thanks to the travel allowance that goes along with the Trudeau Scholarship, I had the opportunity to take part in many events, workshops and conferences where I could present my research and make contact with other researchers from Canada and abroad. There is no doubt in my mind that my doctoral work would have been very different without the Foundation's financial support.

    But the Trudeau Scholarship provided far more than just financial support. For the last four years, I have had the great privilege to rub shoulders with members of a community that is remarkable for its vitality, openness and vision of a more just society. This community of scholars and decision-makers from a wide range of intellectual and political milieus made me rethink the role of university research in Canada and the relationship between academia and the political world. I am leaving the Foundation today with a far broader perspective of my future role as a researcher and with renewed determination to be socially involved.