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our history

Above photo: Study Group Chairs taking a photo for the 1980 CSC in Canada.

"The objective is for members to look, listen and learn in the hope that the process will help them to improve the quality of their decision-making when they reach the peaks of their occupations."

- HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Founder of the Commonwealth Study Conferences

Above photo: 1980 CSC Participants with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Commonwealth Leaders Dialogue Canada (CLDC) is the Canadian arm of The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences. Led by our President, HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, we are a global leadership development organization.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh founded the Commonwealth Study Conferences in 1956, when 300 emerging leaders from across the Commonwealth and from all sectors of society met to discuss the human problems of industrial communities.

The first Commonwealth Study Conference was, in the words of its founder HRH Prince Philip, "an extraordinary experiment". It set out to provide an opportunity for people from all over the Commonwealth and all walks of life to leave behind their usual roles and, with a diverse group of people, examine the relationship between industry and the community around it.

The purpose was not to produce high sounding resolutions and weighty conclusions but to challenge the participants' assumptions and prejudices; to give them the chance to examine real situations and the issues arising from the interaction of businesses, their employees and the communities in which they operated. The members were, at Prince Philip's insistence, to be "people who appeared likely to be in the next generations of leaders so that when the time came for them to take important decisions they would have the benefit of what they had discovered on the Study Conference to help them."

Although the first conference was conceived as a "one-off", its participants found it such a worthwhile experience that they determined to make it available to subsequent generations. Since 1956, conferences have been hosted in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

As well, a number of regional conferences, modeled on the proven success of the Commonwealth Study Conferences, have also been organized:

  • UK Interim Conferences
  • Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conferences
  • Emerging Pacific Leaders' Dialogues
  • Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders' Dialogues

The Canadian alumni who attended the first conference were so impressed with the lessons and the values instilled in them that they collaborated on holding the second conference in Canada. Recognizing the value of this form of education, they championed the Canadian alumni to continue to provide this unique form of emerging leader education.

To date, over 10,000 people have taken part in The Duke of Edinburgh's leadership programs. Emerging Leaders' Dialogues Canada Inc. is prod to have added The Emerging Leaders for Sustainable Community Development and The Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders' Dialogues programs to an eminent line of successful conferences. 

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