As the ninth Sauvé Scholars Program year nears its end and I reflect on the Scholars’ presentations of their projects, I cannot help but think how impossible it is to compartmentalize this year – or any year.
The four thematic groupings: Communications, Education, Human Rights and Social Entrepreneurship are a neat way of categorizing, but hardly reflect all the overlapping influences and important inter-Scholar exchanges that have contributed to the final products (projects), and to the success of each Scholar’s year, both personally and professionally. On the other hand, these four groupings represent the confluence of ideas and ideals that exemplify Jeanne Sauvé’s principal focus. I think she would be very proud of these young leaders for whom the Sauvé Scholars Program has been a launching pad.
During the second half of the Program – since the Scholars returned from break in January – the schedule was less packed than the first half, leaving them more time for their respective projects as well as their blogs and accounts of encounters with the numerous guests who have shared their experiences over tea or a meal. But they have also had fun – do check out the pictures of their Winter Weekend with Sauvé Board Member Nancy Wright and her family.
Since January, most of our Special Guests were hosted by individual Scholars, who sought them out because of the relevance of their experience to the cohort’s interests and lines of enquiry. These guests have included:
Dr. Paul Shrivastava, David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia (see “From Bhopal to O'Brien”) whose advice to the Scholars was, above all that, people should follow their passions and interests, even if it means changing career paths.’
Mutsumi Takahashi and Jed Kahane, CTV hosts spoke of the intellectual rigour required to meet the demands of good broadcast journalism.
Judy Rebick, Canadian social justice expert, journalist, enthusiastic political activist and feminist, and former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women gave a vibrant talk, in which she encouraged the Scholars to maintain their passion for social justice.
Stéphane Dion, Liberal MP, former leader of the Opposition, former leader of the Liberal Party, and former Minister of the Environment spoke about his controversial role in politics- notably the Green Shift of 2008 and the Clarity Act of 2000. He also discussed "ethical oil" and the news about the tar sands not being as polluting as previously thought.
Marie Wilson, Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and former CBC broadcaster visited Sauvé House as well. As a fluently bilingual, university educated professional who has lived and worked in cross-cultural environments for almost forty years, both internationally and in several parts of Canada, including the North, she shared valuable insights on the importance of cross-cultural communications, especially on how to listen to what is unsaid.
Tim Brodhead discussed his twenty-five years in the field of international development as a volunteer in West Africa and then as founding director of several non-governmental organizations, including ACORD (based in London, now Nairobi) and Inter Pares (Ottawa) (See Ethan’s account.)
The Scholars hosted MP and educator Justin Trudeau for a lively dinner in their kitchen, discussing politics, his father (the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau), and the Scholars’ own projects and passions.
The Scholars also enjoyed a very special evening with Jean-François Sauvé, Chairman of the Sauvé Foundation. He cooked up a storm, both literally – with delicious pasta - and metaphorically, by leading a discussion with the Scholars on controversial topics such as the ongoing student strikes in Canada and Québec’s Plan du Nord Northern development strategy.
The Scholars also did not neglect their duties as hosts of their respective national/cultural evenings; we quickly ran out of superlatives. And nobody will ever forget the collective effort of building the Gingerbread Sauvé House.
A first for Sauvé was Jeeshan’s “Hackathon for Health”, Canada’s first health-focused hackathon and a huge success. Nearly 70 healthcare professionals connected with some 160 designers and developers to tackle the tech issues that bog down their professional lives. The event garnered not only interest, but great publicity (e.g. this Maclean’s story). While we would have loved to hold the event at Sauvé House, it quickly became evident that more space would be needed. We are grateful to Thomson House for being so accommodating.
In-house activities organized by individual Scholars included a project management session run by Charlotte and workshops run by Stephanie and Paul.
The annual trip to Ottawa (April 3-5) seems to get better every year. Our agenda was packed – from Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird to political pundit Paul Wells, from Maxime Faille, Leader of National Practice on Aboriginal Law, Gowlings to Supreme Court Justice Rosalind Abella. Our trip report prepared by Sadia, recounts the key lessons learned in the words of the Scholars.
This year, we focused more of our Program energy than ever before on assisting individual Scholars with their projects and goals for the Sauvé year. Each Scholar, as you know, has a unique vision of change for the world. It is our responsibility – and pleasure – to help equip them to implement that vision. The results of their year’s work are impressive. Each Scholar showcased the results of their work in the final days of April at a series of formal events to which specialists in relevant fields as well as members of the Board, staff, mentors, and friends were invited.
The presentations took several forms: sharing the stage with a fellow national involved in the same pressing issues (as was the case with Esmael); co-hosting the event with a community organization (as was the case with Mohammed); hosting an expert panel discussion (Dechen); running a workshop (Simangele) or a group presentation (the social entrepreneurs).
Esmael was the first Scholar to share the results of his project, speaking in conjunction with fellow Kenyan activist Flora Terah at an event titled Dignity through Difficulty.
This was followed by Dechen’s engaging presentation and panel discussion: Sustaining Public Service Broadcasting: Lessons from Canada for Emerging Democracies, around which she organized a panel discussion with Dr. Darin Barney, Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship; Professor Marc Raboy , Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and Jean-Michel Leprince, CBC/Radio-Canada’s Reporter and Latin America Correspondent.
Simangele’s ‘Each one Teach one’ symposium was an opportunity for professionals in special needs education and arts education to exchange best practices.
On Earth Day, Stéphanie , Yimin , Maria , Paul and Joshua held an event titled Leadership in Times of Change: Strategies and Projects for a Sustainable Future in which they showcased the results of their efforts as Sauvé Scholars, and addressed how their respective interests overlap.
Jeeshan, Ethan, Joshua & Alia presented their social entrepreneurship projects to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors at a very lively event and received excellent feedback.
Charlotte presented her lively and engaging video documentaries about the Sauvé Program and year during our Closing Reception - a fitting conclusion to a wonderful year.
On 1 March, Anita Nowak joined the Sauvé community as visiting fellow. She shared her expertise and networks in social entrepreneurship and education with Sauvé Scholars during weekly office hours for the remainder of the Program year.
The selection of the 2012-2013 Scholars is completed – each year it becomes a more difficult task as the Applicants’ qualifications just get better and better. I thank EVERYONE who helped in the process – and you were many - alumni, volunteers, members of the Selection Committee and the Board; special thanks to Simone Hanchet, who was at the centre of every step and kept us all on track. The 12 finalists are awesome and I look forward to telling you more about each individual in my next newsletter.
It is expected that the formalization of our partnership with Concordia will be signed and announced very soon; we were happy that Paula Wood-Adams, Associate Dean, Programs and Outreach joined the Selection Committee for the 2012-2013 Applicants.
We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of the Foundation has also expanded. In addition to the appointment of Sauvé Scholar (2009-2010) Liam McHugh-Russell, we are delighted and honoured to welcome Tim Brodhead and Donat Taddeo, who have accepted to contribute their expertise and guidance to the Scholars Program and the Foundation.
During the summer months, our team will expand to include two new Sauvé interns, Lisa Yang and Chloe Landry, McGill Arts students tasked respectively with supporting our communications and Program activities.
Jeanne Sauvé Foundation and Sauvé Scholars Foundation
“Leaders must dream of changing the world.
They must have an inspired vision of the changes they want to make and be prepared to consecrate all
their energy to that purpose. A capacity to communicate their objectives is indispensable to sustain
the enthusiasm of their collaborators and their perseverance in action.”
— The Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, Opening Speech to the National Conference for Young Leaders, June 2-8, 1991