The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of to the 2017-19 Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program recruitment and selection process. We’re inviting bright young change-makers from a wide range of disciplines and sectors from Canada and around the world to participate in a remarkable leadership experience.

The Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program represents the beginning of a lifelong personal and professional development journey, as well as an opportunity to join a global community of public leaders.

For the 2017-19 Program, a new cohort of Public Leadership Fellows will collectively explore how focusing on strategies of inclusion can help public leaders respond to the complex challenges facing culturally diverse societies. The theme of the 2017-19 Public Leadership Program is Public Leadership for Culturally Diverse Societies: The Inclusion Imperative.

The two-year program begins with a full-time residential experience in Montreal with a dozen select Public Leadership Fellows. This is followed by a field phase, in which Fellows return to their respective communities and countries in order to apply the skills and new ideas developed during the residential phase. Fellows benefit from intensive leadership development training and support during the residential year and some ongoing support from one another and the Foundation during the field year. Thereafter, Fellows are encouraged to remain active members of an emerging community of Jeanne Sauvé public leaders who hail from over 50 countries around the world.

Please note that the application period for the 2017-19 program is now closed. Thank you to all applicants who applied.


Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program: How It Works, Eligibility and FAQs

Please see How It WorksEligibility and Frequently Asked Questions for more information about the Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Program.

For any questions about the application process, we encourage you to read our Application Instructions & FAQs.

2017-19 Theme: Public Leadership for Culturally Diverse Societies: The Inclusion Imperative

The 2017-19 Jeanne Sauvé Public Leadership Fellows will be invited to collectively explore how public leaders can help culturally diverse societies to thrive by making the inclusion of all cultural and religious groups a guiding principle.

Over the course of the residential period of the program, our Fellows will look at inclusion through the lens of four pressing challenges facing culturally diverse societies:

  1. Addressing the root causes of conflict, including social inequality and marginalization
  2. Countering radicalization towards violent extremism
  3. Preventing genocide and mass atrocities
  4. Enabling post-conflict reconciliation

In addition to undertaking individual initiatives that address an aspect of this broad question, the Fellows will collectively engage with this complex and multi-faceted question throughout the program. Each Fellow will be expected to contribute relevant expertise, experience, and ideas to enrich the discussion and to enhance their colleagues’ understanding of this issue.

The program will empower the Fellows to co-design and co-create a learning and engagement agenda for their year in residence. It will also provide Fellows with opportunities to undertake hands-on initiatives in collaboration with university partners and community groups.

We anticipate that the Fellows will wish to use their time to explore new thinking on conflict prevention, conflict de-escalation, conflict management, conflict resolution, and post-conflict reconciliation. We also expect that they will wish to consider the distinct roles that the academe, children, civil society, educators, indigenous peoples, the media, minority groups, new technologies, policy makers, politicians, political decision-making structures, the private sector, religious leaders, women, and youth can play in shaping – or limiting – the inclusiveness of culturally diverse societies.

To join the Foundation in exploring this theme, our goal is to knit together a diverse team of young leaders from around the world representing a wide range of relevant professional experiences in the broad domain of public leadership. These experiences might include, for example, exposing discrimination issues through the media, representing indigenous peoples, developing peace education policy, advocating for greater religious tolerance, anti-radicalization efforts, peace-building or post-conflict reconciliation work, championing environmental conservation, assessing and addressing security threats, contributing to identity discourses, taking up legal, political, and policy approaches to diversity issues, advocating for minority, migrant and refugee rights, and pioneering technological innovation for peace.

Why Cultural Diversity?

At a time when the inclusiveness of countries everywhere is being tested, the question of how we can learn to live together across our cultural and religious differences has never been more pressing.

Rapid globalization is changing the fabric of societies around the world. While creating new opportunities, it is also often straining social cohesion and posing urgent public leadership challenges.

Globally, sectarian, ethnic and tribal violence engulf many vulnerable nations. United Nations peacekeeping forces are largely underequipped to protect civilians from mass atrocities and crimes against humanity. Relationships between majority and national, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities are often tense and violent. In many parts of the world, environmental degradation and increasing resource scarcity are exacerbating tensions between groups, creating or contributing to domestic and international conflicts.

There are presently about 60 million people displaced in the world: asylum seekers, refugees, and internally displaced people. While most are displaced primarily due to violent conflict, climate change is also now responsible for a new class of refugee: the climate refugee.

As a result of these developments, many countries are now facing unprecedented levels of immigration and these often lead to clashes between immigrant communities and more established ones. In many cases, this is fuelling a resurgence of populist nationalism. Divisive identity politics advocating the rejection of immigrants are gaining purchase in the public discourse and are increasingly shaping political debate and policy.

In countries with significant indigenous populations, their just place within the broader society is still being navigated.

Fifteen years into the post-9/11 era, international security concerns are increasingly coming into conflict with policies of social inclusion. Meanwhile, violent extremism is on the rise globally, and acts of Islamic terrorism are fuelling fear and widespread anti-Muslim sentiment.

New technologies are also connecting us in novel ways. They are creating exciting opportunities to build shared understanding, but can equally drive exclusion by inciting hate speech, violence, and radicalization.

Despite the many tensions facing culturally diverse societies, there are multiple examples around the world of different communities peacefully coexisting. Societies around the world are adapting to demographic changes by creating new policies and structures to support social cohesion and the harmonious coexistence of different cultural groups. What can we learn from how these societies relate to their own cultural diversity and foster social cohesion?

In taking up the broad issue of cultural diversity and inclusion, the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation wishes to look beyond the absence of conflict – characterized by a tacit tolerance of difference – and collectively explore what is required for an enriched society in which cultural differences are respected and celebrated.

Why Inclusion?

In our globalizing world, increasing diversity within societies is almost a certainty. Pluralism, however, is a difficult achievement. Culturally diverse societies are facing rising levels of inequality, increasing incidents of social isolation leading to dangerous radicalization, as well as an increased likelihood of violent conflicts or even mass atrocities. Societies run the risk of the breakdown of social cohesion if they don’t undertake the hard work of developing inclusion from diversity.

We believe that the countries that take up the inclusion imperative will thrive in the century ahead. They are likely to be more politically stable, to thrive economically, to attract the most talent, and to be best able to collaborate across cultures and countries.

Why Public Leadership for Inclusion and Diversity?

All too often these days, leaders are using divisions within society to further their political agendas and enhance their power. However, public leadership has an opportunity to play a positive role as well – by using its podium to support cultural diversity and build social cohesion instead.

Public leaders have the power to shape a new narrative about diversity, and to spark and sustain constructive public conversations about how our societies can become more inclusive. Overcoming deep-seated prejudices often requires that public leaders develop a robust public discourse in favour of respect and tolerance and – where intolerance has already taken root – to build counter-narratives that mobilize citizens towards more inclusive societies.

Public leaders are also responsible for advancing inclusive policies that respect differences. They must build new programs, products and services that enable citizens to thrive together in safety and peace. Public leaders must also be clear-eyed in addressing systemic social and economic inequalities, which often divide groups along racial or cultural lines. Finally, they must innovate new approaches to public policy development that truly engage the diverse constituents whom they serve.

Through this unique program, Jeanne Sauvé Fellows will explore how public leaders can concretely promote inclusion in culturally diverse societies. Together, they will ask: Which approaches are most effective in which contexts, and why? What can we learn from existing examples of public leadership in order to advance a more peaceful, inclusive world? What new, innovative approaches might we advance going forward, and how?

Why Explore these Issues at the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation?

The acknowledgement of our political, cultural, ideological and religious differences is the foundation of true equality. Without equality, dialogue, which is essential to peace in the world, would be impossible.  – Excerpt from the speech of the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, delivered at the 1992 International Forum of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation on Nationalism and Globalization

The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is well positioned to offer participants an opportunity to tap into rich public dialogue, debate and policy on matters of cultural diversity and social cohesion.

Jeanne Sauvé herself believed in the possibility of world peace and this objective was at the heart of her public leadership. In fact, the white dove (symbolizing peace) is one of the elements on her coat-of-arms as Governor General of Canada.

Our academic home, McGill University, has an extremely diverse student and faculty body, as does Concordia University, our academic partner.

Jeanne Sauvé House – where Public Leadership Fellows live and work – is situated in the heart of cosmopolitan, multilingual Montreal. The city is also the largest in the province of Quebec, a place where identity politics have often been centre-stage.

Canada is often held up as a model pluralistic society, and for good reason. It is one of the world’s most culturally diverse societies. It has a significant indigenous population, a historic French-speaking minority, and generations of immigrants and refugees. Canada is also the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as a policy response to cultural and ethnic diversity.

As is the case elsewhere however, the frameworks that support cultural diversity in Canada are evolving as the country navigates challenges associated with migration and the shifting interactions between national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups.

Canada maintains one of the highest immigration rates in the world. For the past two decades, it has admitted about 250,000 newcomers each year, close to 1% of the population. More than 20% of Canada’s inhabitants were born outside the country, yet polls show that two-thirds of Canadians feel that immigration is one of Canada’s key strengths and support maintaining or increasing immigration levels. By 2017, it is predicted that one in five Canadians will be part of a “visible minority”.

Canada also boasts a strong humanitarian tradition. The government’s decision to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees last year was seen an opportunity to rekindle this tradition, but also presented a test of the country’s refugee integration capacity.

Furthermore, Canada’s Aboriginal population is growing at a rate four times faster than that of its non-Aboriginal population, creating a range of challenges affecting the country’s social fabric and exacerbating stark social inequalities.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada recently concluded a multi-year public enquiry into the impact of federally mandated residential schools on indigenous Canadians. The Commission concluded that a cultural genocide had occurred in Canada, and laid the groundwork for a new era of dialogue and collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

This overall social and political context creates a dynamic, stimulating environment in which Jeanne Sauvé Fellows have lived, learned, and thrived together for over a decade. We look forward to exploring these particularly topical questions of inclusion, diversity, and pluralism from multiple perspectives with the 2017-19 Jeanne Sauvé Fellows.