President Steenkamp video message: for Friday, May 1

May 1, 2020
Philip Steenkamp, PhD

Hello everyone, I’m joining you on a beautiful spring morning outside in my garden in Victoria. Once again, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the health care workers and other frontline workers who step up each and every day to serve and protect our communities.

My friend Ed is an example of one of these frontline workers. He’s a doctor in San Diego. Ed contracted COVID-19 early on, but after recovering, he chose to volunteer in one of the hardest hit hospitals in New York City. My sister Patricia is a nurse working in Cape Town, South Africa and while I worry about her all the time, I’m also immensely proud of what she and millions of others are doing during this emergency.

I know many of you have stories to share just like this, and I asked myself the question: “what do these people have in common?” And the answer I think is courage. It takes courage to embrace the unknown, to take risks, and to expose yourself to harm in service of others. And we are certainly going to need a lot of courage in the months ahead.

In the last week or so, there’s been talk about lifting restrictions and about gradually opening up our economy and our society. This is going to be a period of trial and error. There will be progress and there will be setbacks, and we will need courage to deal with this all, and we will need courage to change course when we need to change course.

At Royal Roads University, courage means taking bold action to deal with big problems. It also means creating the environment for innovation and risk-taking and celebrating our successes together but also supporting each other when we fail.

As an example of this commitment, just this week, we announced the establishment of the Cascade Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Tad Homer-Dixon, who is one of the world’s leading complex systems scientists. The Cascade Institute is going to take a look at the way in which various challenges are interconnected – challenges like pandemics, the climate crisis, economic disruption, social upheaval and political instability and importantly, the Cascade Institute is going to try to identify those key interventions that will help address these challenges. So this institute is so well-aligned with our commitment at Royal Roads University to inspire people with the courage to change the world.

As Winston Churchill so famously said, “courage is the most esteemed of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

So together, let’s dig deep and let’s find the courage to face the future.

So be calm, be safe be kind and be brave and have a great weekend.

Thank you.