A Word from the Incoming President

Pascale Fournier presents her vision for the next five years at the Foundation.


Montréal, 28 May 2018

Dear amazing members and ambassadors of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation around the world:

I have been profoundly touched and overwhelmed by the many words of encouragement and congratulations that I have received since 18 April, when my appointment as president and chief executive officer of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation was announced. Thank you for your expressions of confidence, which reflect your deep affection for a Foundation that helps make the world a better place. I am honoured to have been chosen to share my enthusiasm for leadership and excellence in the social sciences and humanities in Canada, and more honoured still to do so as part of such a dedicated community.

The mission that I will undertake is dear to my heart, not only because I enjoyed the Foundation’s generous support during my doctoral studies, but also because I am convinced that the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation plays a key role in promoting public intellectual leaders who can think and speak across disciplines while remaining rooted in everyday dilemmas for real citizens. For that reason, I intend to devote my presidency to cultivating an inclusive conception of excellence, enriched by our commitment to diversity, and developing a leadership curriculum that will deeply engage our extraordinary network of scholars, fellows and mentors. As a proud alumna of the Foundation’s inaugural cohort (Harvard Law School; 2003 scholar), I can beautifully relate to your transformative experiences and inspirational stories. I am here for you and because of you.

As I prepare to assume my duties as the Foundation’s president and CEO, I commit to undertaking extensive public consultations throughout Canada to listen to our community and communities, re-examine our current practices, and think collectively about our vision for the future. After 15 fabulous years of existence, it is important for the Foundation to take the pulse of the institutional and civil-society stakeholders who are active within and around our organization—to lend them an ear and engage them in dialogue, seeking a diversity of perspectives, examining our blind spots, and demonstrating openness and authenticity. Starting in the fall of 2018, we will launch a series of meetings across Canada, including in Montréal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse, Regina, Winnipeg, Halifax, Moncton, Charlottetown, and St. John’s. At each gathering, we will reach out to current and former scholars, fellows, and mentors, institutional members, donors, employees, academic and community organizations, environmental interest groups, human rights organizations, research institutes, and general educational institutions. I enthusiastically invite you to participate in these consultations, which will focus on two interdependent sets of questions:

  1. In its traditional understanding of excellence, has Canadian society intentionally or inadvertently excluded certain forms of knowledge while preferring others? How have power inequalities between various groups (Indigenous versus non-Indigenous people, men versus women, anglophones versus francophones, heterosexuals versus LGBTQ2 people, white citizens versus racialized citizens, etc.) played out in the production and application of knowledge? What is inclusive excellence and how can we reform our institutions to help us live together more harmoniously?
  2. What is a public intellectual leader and what are the essential characteristics of change agents working in the world of ideas? What approaches should our scholars display and what projects should they undertake to fulfil their mandates as public intellectuals? By what means should public intellectual leaders genuinely cultivate and encourage inclusive excellence, and what is the role of the Foundation in this context?

Following these consultations, the Foundation will develop a strategic plan that reflects its priorities and objectives and identifies the steps to achieve them. In closing, allow me to say how much I look forward to officially starting my mandate on July 9 as part of a dynamic and devoted team that has always set the bar high. I am extremely honoured by the confidence that the Board has placed in me. I also wish to thank Morris Rosenberg for the dedication he brought to the Foundation over the last four years and for making my transition smooth and highly rewarding. I am humbled by the idea of working with you, dear ambassadors, on a process that will allow us to pursue the mission of excellence that the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation stands for so brilliantly, and I thank you again for your devotion to the Foundation’s work.

Pascale Fournier, Ad.E.

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Pascale Fournier

  • Team
  • Scholar 2003
  • Alumni
President and Chief Executive Officer