Postponement of the Institute of Engaged Leadership in Washington, D.C.

Dear community members, partners, and friends of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation:

I am writing to you today to share a challenging decision I am making after a thorough process of assessment and deliberation. 

In light of the extraordinary and unpredictable situation due to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), I feel it is in the greater interest of the Foundation community that we postpone the Institute of Engaged Leadership scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. during the week of March 15-20, to a later date. While this decision is in many ways a difficult one, I am confident this is the most responsible route to take for the health and safety of our community, board, staff, and partners. 

As you have undoubtedly noted, the continuing proliferation of COVID-19 has led other organizations to postpone or cancel events in the U.S. and elsewhere. I cannot understate the importance of recognizing there remain many unknowns regarding the escalation of COVID-19. Under these exceptional and volatile circumstances, the Foundation would have been unable to reasonably ensure the health and safety of our community once in Washington. Our focus stems from the Foundation’s values which are anchored by our commitment to the wellness of our community. With this in mind, it becomes clear that this is the right decision.

I acknowledge the postponement of the Institute represents an inconvenience for those of you who scheduled your time and made travel arrangements to attend. Since my last note, many of you have asked that we seek other alternatives. Others have expressed disappointment that we might postpone. I share your disappointment. Months of passion and hard work, powerful ideas, creative thinking went into building an outstanding programme where sharing space and intellectual discussion takes us on a transformative journey. 

Thank you to our Mentors and Fellows who placed so much of their time and effort into preparing the Power & Knowledge leadership sessions for the Washington Institute. Your talent, devotion, and commitment to our Scholars are truly remarkable. I am optimistic that our Scholars will benefit from these enriching and creative experiential sessions you have designed, as we begin the process of rescheduling the Institute. We are already preparing the groundwork for upcoming opportunities to gather and learn. We will share new dates with you as soon as possible.

The Foundation remains committed to our goal of building community through our events and nurturing openness to inclusive and collaborative ways of knowing and being. During this challenging time, let us not overlook the most vulnerable and marginalized. We can all play a positive role in supporting each other through actions of community engagement.


Pascale Fournier

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Pascale Fournier

  • Scholar 2003
  • Alumni
2003 Scholar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation (2018 to 2023)