President's message - February 2023
España 2023 : A journey to where ideas collide
A first Institute of Engaged Leadership outside of Canada.
Three words that embody our history, our roots, our way of seeing and being in the world. Three words that in the same breath can unite us or oppose us, calm us or inflame us.
How can we live in a pluralistic society of languages and cultures?
How do we find the balance between respect for the integrity of the individual and the community?
The year 2023 has begun in this spirit; welcoming the clash of ideas, provoking transformative encounters that lead us away from the usual paths of consensual thinking.
Our first international Institute of Engaged Leadership was held in Spain, between January 13 and 20, as part of the “Language, Culture and Identity” Scientific Cycle. Through contact with Castillan, Catalan, and Basque speakers—who navigate through linguistic and cultural realities that echo our own—the Scholars broadened their peripheral vision to better engage certain societal challenges that find refuge in similar reflections and solutions.
Immersing oneself in a culture by experiencing its places and people
In order to truly grasp the essence of an issue, not only do we believe we should address its roots, but we should also, and above all, consider its many facets.
In this spirit, the Scholars visited a range of spaces, physical places that are both linguistic and cultural anchors. In the heart of Spanish, Catalan and Basque communities—either in Barcelona, on the outskirts of Pasaia, a small fishing town, or in San Millán de la Cogolla—they took the pulse of this complex reality, with the humility of a researcher going into the field. A trip rich in emotions, culminating in a better understanding of the ever-present tension of identity, and of the possible means of mobilization and struggle.
Listening to the different actors with an open mind
Controversial opinions, difficult conversations, the clash of ideas: confronted with a plurality of perspectives, the Scholars welcomed opposing views with curiosity and in a respectful and caring manner. They weighed divergent points of view; those of a Spanish majority, concerned with functional issues towards national questions. They discovered perspectives on history and colonialism rarely addressed head-on, absorbing unpopular ideas with intellectual curiosity—able to listen to every discourse critically and constructively.
Taming one’s vulnerability
Being an engaged leader means knowing how to deal with otherness: despite our differences, we can be honest, dare to be ourselves through the expression of our ideas, and know how to welcome criticism.
During this journey, Scholars were able to create an intimate bond, a circle of trust that welcomed critique but put care at the forefront, always with the goal of progressing together. Thanks to our Fellows and Mentors, and supported by the talents of journalist Alexandra Szacka, the Foundation designed a transformative exercise of simulation to disseminate knowledge through TV and radio! To create real impact in the world, we indeed believe that leadership of systems begins with leadership of self and leadership among others. To know yourself. To build alliances. To put one’s expertise and research into the service of the general public for the benefit of all.
This was the first time the Institute of Engaged Leadership travelled internationally, and it won’t be the last. We welcome this natural evolution of our programs with pride. Creating a dialogue outside of our borders and coming back home enriched by the nations and cultures that marked our journey, this is the true meaning of responsible citizenship.
If you wish to share our experience, please watch this video and read our community members’ testimonies.
President and CEO
Photo Credits – Trudeau Foundation / Joe Alvoeiro
In a Few Words
We’ve asked our cohort about their experience of this first Institute of Engaged Leadership organized outside of our borders. Here’s what they had to say: