By Sauvé Fellows Syed QudratUllah and Svjetlana Markovic

In late April and early May, the Sauvé Fellows enjoyed the first days of spring, using them not just to catch some sunbeams and enjoy outdoor activities in Montreal, but also to pursue their learning journey, further exploring public leadership and the diversity challenges that the world is facing today.

And it is best to learn from those leaders whose experiences are inspiring, which can be used as a driver and call for action for us Fellows, who are constantly seeking motivation.

On April 25, we had a pleasure of hosting one of Canada’s most influential advocates for youth engagement, international cooperation and sustainable development: Ms. Désirée McGraw, former Jeanne Sauvé Foundation President and Executive Director and current President of Pearson College United World College.  In a very enriching conversation with Ms. McGraw, we were introduced to her leading career principles: being an operations realist and the importance of enjoying your job, while also trying to make a difference in the world.  

In order to develop critical thought on refugee integration, during our the Book Club session hosted by Sauvé Fellow Costin Ciobanu, we gathered to discuss an essay by Hanna Arendt titled We Refugees (1943). In her essay, Arendt deals with the problems of imposed identity, showing us what it means to be called a refugee. It is actually a great psychological portrait of a very particular collective and the essay itself deepened our discussion and knowledge on refugee integration as well as assimilation within new ‘’home countries’’.

After several weeks of detailed preparations, the Sauvé Fellows hosted an evening full of personal journeys during Diversity & Leadership through Storytelling. From Bosnian post-conflict integration challenges to Nepalese indigenous rights to identity struggles in Israel, the emotional public narratives will certainly be long remembered. It is not everyday that public leaders open their hearts and share their personal stories, which is why this event gave us a new perspective and hope for more empathetic, mindful and humanistic public leadership that we all aspire for.

We then entered another series of Vox Method trainings; with our coaches Elissa and Steven, we focused on our public speaking and presentation skills. This time we learned how to master our presentation when using tools such as PowerPoint.  It was not as easy as we thought, especially when keeping in mind spatial motion, but this knowledge will be of absolute use for Fellows in every aspect of their careers.

The long awaited fieldtrip to Ottawa, filled with meetings with decision-makers and key stakeholders, commenced with great zeal on May 3 and lasted for three more days. We visited visited Canada’s National Capital Region to meet with parliamentarians, university professors and civil society actors in order to learn from them as public leaders. We also had a chance to present our position paper on refugee integration. Being in Ottawa exposed us to governance, thought leadership and public leadership through a uniquely Canadian lens.

Stay tuned for upcoming Team Project developments!

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