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Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Named for Trudeau

Former prime minister symbolizes "pursuit of a just society tempered by intellect and compassion," director says

The legacy of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau will live on at the University of Toronto with the newly named Pierre Elliott Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at University College. “Trudeau symbolizes ideals we encourage our students to achieve,” commented Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon, the director of the centre. “That means the pursuit of a just society tempered by intellect and compassion.”

Sons Justin and Alexandre Trudeau helped unveil the new name of the centre at University College on April 27. “My father’s vision of Canada was to have an altruistic nation which endeavours to share its blessings of peace and justice with a world that often lacks these qualities,” said Alexandre Trudeau.

For Professor Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the centre, the former prime minister emulated the values he believes its students and faculty strive to reflect. “Trudeau symbolizes ideals we encourage our students to achieve – pursuit of a just society tempered by intellect and compassion.”

The event also launched a $4.3-million campaign to raise funds for scholarships and bursaries, mentorship programs, visiting scholars and an annual lecture series. Part of the campaign funds will go toward refurbishing the centre for study space, seminar rooms and a resource centre dedicated to Trudeau’s speeches and letters on foreign affairs, justice and public policy.

“Trudeau was a scholarly politician who had an idealistic vision in both his personal and public life,” says Ah-Jung Lee, a fourth-year student of peace and conflict studies and international relations. “I believe that it’s crucial to combine that vision with a critical mind and an openness to see all sides of an issue. That idealism, which I interpret as hope, motivates me to study peace and conflict with passion.”

The centre promotes research on the root causes of mass violence and ways to lessen its occurrence, and holds the internationally renowned George Ignatieff Chair in Peace and Conflict Studies.

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