The idea for the QES program was born from the desire to celebrate and honour the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne. In 2012, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien and the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, as well as with remarkable contributions from the Government of Canada, provincial governments, and the private sector, this inspiring scholarship initiative was created. 

This program represents a unique opportunity to mobilize a dynamic community of young global leaders across Canada to create lasting impacts both at home and abroad through cross-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences. 

Students and researchers selected for the scholarship program are designated “Queen Elizabeth Scholars” and engage with communities across the globe, learn about cultures and create projects and actions that impact the world. They join a global community of Queen Elizabeth Scholars to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate on meaningful initiatives. To anyone who’s had an educational experience overseas, there is little doubt of the life-changing impact it can have. Students and researchers who have studied or worked abroad often come back with a new sense of self, of their own abilities and strength, and a better understanding of what they find personally fulfilling.  

The success of the QES program speaks to the relevance of what is ultimately a decentralized model – unique to the Canadian landscape of global-mobility focused scholarship programs. Projects awarded reflect particular university areas of expertise and regional concern, while contributing to the strengthening of partnerships between Canadian and international institutions.  

The program requires all scholars to participate in leadership development and community engagement activities and in the network of Queen Elizabeth Scholars.  Through its promotion of international student exchange and civic engagement, the QES program is helping to grow young Canadians into global citizens while promoting Canada as a destination for the world’s top talent and attracting top talent and international research leaders to Canada. To date the QES program has provided funding to 106 projects, administered by 46 Canadian universities and more than 2,200 scholarships have been awarded. As the pandemic slows around the globe and universities reopen their campuses for in-person classes, we are delighted to see the scholars return to travelling and continue their studies.