President’s Message – April 2019


Our listening and learning tour – the Future Forums –concluded in March with the backdrop of the West Coast’s majestic natural beauty to inspire this monumental period in the life of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Since returning, the Foundation is riding on a fresh wave of energy drawn from all the amazing people who contributed their insights and ideas. The production of knowledge is no longer as it used to be. The world of ideas is being reshaped by a multitude of people who are claiming their rightful place at the existential and decision-making table. The most innovative and creative researchers are seeing the blind spots and confronting the reality that certain people have remained invisible in the very midst of our collective conversation. Inclusion and the democratization of knowledge are maxims for our Foundation.



Now, the Foundation is working to pull the ideas and insights shared by participants in all 13 Canadian provinces and territories on the themes of Inclusive Excellence and Engaged Leadership. We relied on the Foundation’s outstanding and engaged network of alumni and active community members as well as external partners to ensure each of the 22 consultation workshops was a success.




Overall, 450 of you devoted your time, energy, and ideas to helping the Foundation explore the themes of Inclusive Excellence and Engaged Leadership. Across the country, we enjoyed the participation of 20% who are part of the Foundation’s community, either as an active or alumni Scholar, Mentor, or Fellow, Member, or Director. 

Overall, 80% of the participants at the Future Forums were from outside the Foundation community. Within that total, 44% were from academia, 27% were with NGOs, 17% from the public or para-public sectors, and 10% came from the private sector.



We are also working with some valuable new data thanks to the participation of past and current Scholars, Fellows, and Mentors who completed a survey which was conducted by Léger over the winter. The information we collected will be used to better determine the composition of our community. It is critical that the Foundation be representative of Canada’s rich diversity.



Among some of our initial learnings based on those who responded to the survey, 83% of our current and alumni community come from Canada’s three most populous provinces, while no survey respondents reported coming from Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunavut. This is important food for thought considering one of the Foundation’s four themes – Canada and the World – as we seek to ensure participation in our programs from Coast to Coast to Coast.

Together, the Future Forums and the survey will play an important part as we build the Foundations’ Strategic Plan for the years ahead, to ensure our programs have even greater impact and demonstrate greater diversity and inclusion. This Strategic Plan will also include recommendations from a recently completed, independent Five-Year Review. We thank all community members who have participated in this important process in recent months. A significant number of people came together to help shape our future together.



A truly outstanding group of candidates came forward seeking to join the Foundation’s 2019 programs as Mentors, Scholars and Fellows. Interviews were conducted at our offices in Montreal over three days at the beginning of April. For the first time in the history of the Foundation, applying to become a Mentor or Fellow involved a process of individual and group interviews. Our independent Application Nomination Review Committee was chaired by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Mona Nemer. The 14 other members of the committee represented true regional, linguistic, and ethnic diversity, and included 5 alumni members of our community. The Foundation will announce the winners in the coming weeks!



The first group activity for our newest community members is coming up fast, as we will be holding a Spring Retreat together in Mont-Orford, Que., from May 26th to May 30th. I am excited to get to know our most recent Community members and have the chance to see other members of the Foundation family, including our latest graduating class, the 2015 Scholars.

I wish all of you a safe and pleasant spring full of inspiration, hope, and new ideas!

Pascale Fournier