What is the Sauvé Scholars Program?  

In this fragile age, it is more important than ever that youth be given the opportunity to interact and to experience; that they be allowed to look through the diversity and multiplicity of cultures, religious beliefs, ideologies and systems that exist around them and discover workable principles and elements that are common and sacred to all mankind. In this lies the hope that through youth’s natural affinity to find in each other elements that transcend the traditional barriers of nationality, class, religion and cultural differences, they will discover the answers that have eluded those before them.

— The Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé,
Opening Speech to the National Conference for Young Leaders,
June 2-8, 1991

The Sauvé Scholars Program exists for young leaders from across the globe who want to change the world. The Scholars are chosen above all on the basis of criteria laid out by the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé:

  • Initiative
  • Motivation
  • Vision
  • Imagination
  • Demonstrated communication skills
  • Awareness of international and domestic issues
  • A strong desire to effect change

The Sauvé Scholars Program has welcomed 126 Scholars from 50 different countries. Launched in 2003, the Sauvé Scholars Program has evolved from the Jeanne Sauvé Youth Foundation, created in 1991 by the late Jeanne Sauvé, the first woman to serve as Governor General of Canada, the country’s Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.

The Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé was a woman of strength and vision. Throughout her distinguished career as youth activist, journalist, Minister of the Crown, Speaker of the House of Commons and ultimately Governor General, she remained at the forefront of the most socially progressive issues of her day, and was deeply committed to advancing the role of young leaders.

In June 1991 Mme Sauvé explained how the Jeanne Sauvé Youth Foundation came into being and her goals in establishing it:

Canadian Governors General have the privilege when they leave office of creating an institution which will bear their name …. At the end of my mandate, I decided that my contribution would be to establish a permanent international forum for young leaders. No such institution exists in the world and I strongly believe that the young leaders of the world have a pressing need to get involved in issues which confront their generation.

Each year, up to 14 remarkable young leaders are invited to come to Montreal for the academic calendar year. They live together in a beautifully restored mansion, enjoy  access to McGill University’s academic programs and other resources – including lectures, conferences and events suited to the advancement of their individual professional and intellectual goals – while benefiting from the communal life and multi-faceted exchanges with their fellow Scholars.

The Sauvé experience, a period of personal and professional growth, is founded on:

  • Intense exchange of ideas and experience, supported by communal life
  • Extensive intellectual freedom, allowing each participant to develop according to his or her needs and aspirations
  • Focus on action accompanied by a clear commitment to the community —including the host community
  • Commitment to dialogue among cultures, which allows participants to understand and assimilate viewpoints built within multiple frames of reference


“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