Combining knowledge and leadership

Combining knowledge and leadership to meet the global challenges of the 21st century

Avant-Garde@CIRANO is a series of seminars on a current annual theme aimed at the new generation. The theme focuses on an opportunity or a challenge for our societies in the 21st century.

This seminar was created in 2015 at CIRANO as part of its transfer mission. It is aimed at young people, some of whom will have positions of responsibility in the near future, whether in the private, public or community sector.

The objective is multiple:
educate and inform conversations on topics of importance to society,
– bring participants to refine their opinions on scientifically based elements, and develop the ability to – listen with people who have different opinions,
– understand the sensitivities of a diverse audience,
– exchange and confront ideas.

The method is a series of seminars favouring discussions, based on scientific knowledge, with professional speakers who come to explain their point of view and academic speakers who shed light on the year’s theme.

The participants of this seminar are selected annually by the executive committee, which is made up of members from different backgrounds. The objective of this selection is to ensure the greatest possible diversity in terms of personal, professional, political, and initial training (science and engineering, humanities, arts, social sciences, law, health, etc.). A cohort is made up of approximately 35 people to ensure an optimal group size for fruitful exchanges and to ensure an interesting and dynamic conversation. Another objective of this selection based on diversity is also to avoid the self-selection that can occur by creating homogeneous groups.

Avant-Garde@CIRANO, through the diversity of its profiles, encourages the exchange of ideas within a very diverse group. Exchanges are transparent and can be made public by participants using the Chatham House Rule. The Chatham House Rule allows content to be disseminated without attribution, which guarantees freedom of expression and avoids stigmatisation.

Each cohort participates in several seminars from September to June in order to gain knowledge and reflections at the same pace. The members commit themselves to participate assiduously in the seminars.

Avant-Garde@CIRANO is part of a portfolio of other activities at CIRANO open to different audiences. This one targets the younger generation in order to bring them to the resolution of complex problems, based on a scientific approach, while keeping in perspective the diversity of opinions of each one.