Former PM to lead the way at Peter Lougheed Leadership College

Canada's 19th prime minister, Kim Campbell, set to lead creation of pre-eminent leadership development programs.


(Edmonton) The first and only Canadian woman to lead the nation as prime minister will oversee the creation of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta.

The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, Canada’s 19th prime minister, has been appointed founding principal of the college, one of the two main elements of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative, a collaboration with The Banff Centre aimed at creating one of the world's pre-eminent leadership development programs.

Campbell said it’s an honour to join the U of A and have a role in cultivating the best skills of leaders in students from every discipline on campus. It’s also a fitting way to pay tribute to the legacy of the late Alberta premier, one of the province’s and country’s greatest leaders.

“In Peter Lougheed, you have that wonderful figure on which one can rally, who is symbolic of this place but also symbolic of the very goals one wants to aspire to—that kind of imaginative, far-seeing, ethical, courageous leadership that the world needs.”

Joining Campbell as a founding leader of the initiative is award-winning designer and leadership expert Dan Buchner, the inaugural vice-president of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute at The Banff Centre.

“These two highly qualified, experienced individuals truly define leadership,” said John Ferguson, chair of the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative's advisory board. “Their talents will inspire creative collaboration and challenge both institutions to be innovative and exceptional in programs they develop.”

U of A well positioned for leadership program

In the two decades since her tenure as prime minister, Campbell has gained international renown as a sought-after speaker and authority on leadership, gender issues and democratization. She has served as chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and as president of the International Women's Forum, was a founding member of the Club of Madrid and taught at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School.


As founding principal, Campbell will be an active “diplomat” for the leadership college, building relationships with funders, faculty, alumni and other organizations that can help build and enhance programming. Campbell, whose ties to the U of A include an honorary doctor of laws degree conferred in 2010 and participating in the Prime Ministers Conversation Series in 2008, said the university is well positioned to be on the leading edge of leadership development thanks to a willingness to dare, dream and look for big ideas.

“The U of A is not a university where people rest on their laurels. We are constantly looking to get the best scholars here, to get the best programs, to get the best students and to give them the best experience. I love that energy,” she said. “There are many leaders on the campus and there’s all sorts of leadership and energy in Edmonton and Alberta that one can tap into.”

With the added collaboration with The Banff Centre and its tradition of excellence in executive leadership development, the initiative truly lives up to Lougheed’s famous encouragement to “strive for the extraordinary.”

“The synergy and the link between the U of A and The Banff Centre is really what makes this extraordinary and unique,” she said.

Preparing students for a complex, competitive world

Though post-secondary students possess many skills and have mastered their disciplines upon graduation, they face more challenges today and a more complex and competitive workforce than when Campbell was a student, she said. One of the aims of the leadership college is to give students insights, skills and understanding to be strong leaders—qualities employers are asking for, she added.

The leadership college will become a “centre of excellence that will resonate through campus,” with resources and programs benefiting students across the university. The work that begins today will ultimately benefit all Albertans and Canadians, she added.

“If Canada is going to innovate, if Canada is going to move forward, we need people of the highest level of skills—and that includes the skills to lead new processes of change.”