Dear Public Leadership Program Fellows,
This is the beginning of what I hope will be a truly transformative, wonderful journey, utterly unlike anything you’ve experienced or will experience again.
I know that you have all left meaningful work, friends, family, and community behind in order to be here now. We at the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation are so glad that each one of you has chosen to be here with us.
Thank you for agreeing to share your diverse skills, your cultural backgrounds, your expertise, your passions, and your visions for a better world with one another and with us. By doing so, you’ve chosen to invest in yourselves as public leaders, and in your vision for a better world.
By joining us, you’ve also demonstrated your commitment to one the principles that animates everything we do here at the Foundation: a belief in the importance of communicating and collaborating across differences to solve global challenges.
Collectively, you come from ten countries on four continents, speak over twenty languages, and were raised in the faith traditions of five world religions. Not only that, but you are each intelligent, compassionate, and talented, and have a wealth of knowledge and fascinating personal and professional experiences in a range of fields.
What a gift you have in each other! I encourage you to learn as much as you possibly can about one another, to learn from one another, and especially, to learn from your differences.
I can promise you that the journey you are beginning will be exactly as challenging as it is transformative. I can promise you that living and working together will be deeply enriching, and that it will challenge you to question your values and your priorities in ways that you cannot at this moment imagine. I can promise you that the work of enhancing your skills as change agents will require you to unlearn some ways of thinking, doing, and being, and to make room for new skills, approaches, and values.
This kind of transformative work is not always easy or comfortable, but it is deeply rewarding. So I encourage you to commit now to supporting one another’s learning and development over the days, weeks, months, and even years ahead. I encourage you to take responsibility not only for your individual journeys, but also for one another’s.
Remember also that you’re now joining of an amazing network of Sauvé Fellows around the world. The community of 124 Sauvé Program Alumni (from 50 countries!) is extremely diverse and full of passionate, compassionate, intelligent people like you. I encourage you to connect and collaborate with this broader community this year and throughout your lives. We will do our best to support those connections.
Collectively, your visions of change paint a picture of a radically different world: a world that is more equal, more just, and more ecologically sustainable. We at the Foundation share that vision, and what’s more, we believe in your collective capacity to build it!
I look forward to guiding you in your projects, supporting you in your endeavours, and building with you a learning experience that enriches you personally and professionally. I can hardly wait to see where this journey will lead.
Above all, I wish you a year (and a lifetime!) of learning, reflection, exploration, productivity, and transformation – of yourselves and of our world!