Vancouver Island University receives $2 million to educate future public service leaders

Deborah Saucier and Stephen Jarislowsky signing documents seated at a table

Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor, and Stephen Jarislowsky, President of the Jarislowsky Foundation, sign an agreement to establish theChair in Trust and Political Leadership.

June 8, 2022 - 12:45pm

VIU has been selected to join a prestigious new network to establish a Chair in Trust and Political Leadership.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is one of five Canadian universities selected to form a unique network focused on educating future politicians and civil servants.

The Jarislowsky Foundation has chosen Acadia University, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (in collaboration with l’École Nationale d’Administration Publique), Trent University, the University of Lethbridge and Vancouver Island University to set up a first-of-its-kind network at five liberal arts and science universities in five regions of Canada. As part of this initiative, the Foundation is investing $2 million to help establish the Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership at VIU.

“The Jarislowsky Foundation’s generous endowment is a significant contribution to the social sciences and to further establishing VIU’s position as a regional hub for expertise,” said Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University. “The Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership aligns with the goals set out in our Strategic Plan: to become a leader in learning for future generations and to expand life-enriching and career building experiences for our diverse population of learners. We are grateful to Stephen Jarislowsky and the Jarislowsky Foundation for selecting VIU for this investment in VIU and its learners.”

“At VIU, we aspire to provide high-quality programs to our students which, in the VIU context, means programming that is accessible to the university’s potential learners, centering their needs and preparing them for future endeavours,” said Dr. Carol Stuart, Provost and Vice-President Academic. “I am excited for the potential this Chair holds for our learners and the opportunities it will provide to enrich their studies and help them become transformative leaders who contribute to social inclusion and engaged citizenship throughout their lives.”

The vision for the network is to collaborate on the development of a common core curriculum, distinct regional curriculum components and establish regular interaction and engagement of students across Canada. The long-term goal is to professionalize ethical and fiduciary responsibility in political and public service by developing certification in trust and political leadership. The network will also provide the foundation for successful and impactful careers in politics and public service.

“A signature feature of the Political Studies program at VIU is the close collaboration with our Global Studies program,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brimacombe, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. “As a result, the Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership will examine ethics and governance in the areas of Canadian foreign policy at a time when the rules-based international order is being challenged. This will include an emphasis on how the Cascadia region can respond to these broader transformations occurring in global governance. We are honoured to work in collaboration with the Jarislowsky Foundation and our university partners across the country on this exciting initiative.”

Stephen Jarislowsky, President of the Jarislowsky Foundation, was born in Germany in 1925 and lived in the Netherlands and France between the two world wars. He witnessed situations like those in Ukraine today. He said the creation of these new chairs responds to a need in our democratic societies.

“People need to understand historical experiences in order to prevent repeating them. And one of the ways to do that is to ensure our governments are led by inspiring, highly trusted, reliable men and women who exercise fiduciary responsibility,” said Jarislowsky. “Once democracy disappears in a country, it takes years to re-establish if it is even possible. Optimistically, it’s a question of how we are going to strengthen and build trust in our public institutions, our organizations and ourselves.”

Anyone interested in supporting this important initiative can email the VIU Foundation at or call 250.740.6217. The Jarislowsky Foundation’s full news release can be found here.

VIU will begin recruitment of the new Chair immediately.

About the Jarislowsky Foundation

The Jarislowsky Foundation was founded in 1993 by Stephen Jarislowsky, a prominent Canadian philanthropist and business leader. The Foundation’s mission is to promote, support and foster excellence and ethics in education, medicine and the arts, and the environment and climate change. The Foundation has 42 research chairs in areas of democracy, governance, public sector management, environment & climate change, Canadian art, and health across Canada.

The Foundation supports programs that allow students from diverse backgrounds to discuss contemporary issues with mentors and recognized experts. These programs aim to develop students’ critical thinking skills so that they become leaders with strategic vision and thinking.

The Jarislowsky Foundation supports more than 80 organizations a year in the arts and culture, hospital foundations, the community sector and climate change. The Jarislowsky Foundation now donates approximately $8 million per year. 

About Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University (VIU), located on the west coast of Canada, is one of Canada’s most inclusive universities. We place students and communities at the centre of our work, recognizing that education is a key determinant of social progress and economic prosperity. Our unique student experience includes small class sizes; dedicated, award-winning faculty; and exceptional undergraduate research opportunities that are often realized in collaboration with our many community partners. We also offer a wide variety of educational options and starting points, including upgrading, trades, and undergraduate and graduate programs, to support the varied educational needs of both our domestic and international students. This personalized approach prepares VIU students for success in the workforce and gives them the skills to act as responsible global citizens. At the foundation of this work is our focus on ensuring as many people as possible can access post-secondary education.


Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Community Engagement | Global Studies | Political Studies | Announcements

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