Carleton University’s groundbreaking graduate program in Political Management celebrated a successful first term Thursday at a reception on Parliament Hill hosted by Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Barry Devolin as new Fellows of the program were announced.

Students of the Clayton H. Riddell Master of Political Management, along with their professors, politicians and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, gathered to toast Canada’s first graduate program of its kind. Also attending was Preston Manning, president and CEO of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. The program was originally proposed to Carleton by the Manning Centre.

“The success of government requires strong players at all levels,” said Devolin. “This innovative program gives people a professional foundation in the skills required for constructive politics and effective policy.” The master’s program admits 25 students a year. Explicitly designed to inform and bolster electoral politics and parliamentary democracy in Canada and beyond, Riddell students will be equipped to occupy positions of responsibility and leadership. “Carleton University is proud to assist in improving governance and the practice of politics across the nation,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “Our location in the nation’s capital, the generous support of Mr. Riddell and our talented faculty combine to make this program highly successful.”

“The impetus of this program came from a need to address a democratic deficit,” said André Plourde, dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. “We are proud to be playing this role and acting as a training ground for the future leaders of Canada.”

Former parliamentarians and experts who have agreed to speak in various classes throughout the year have been designated as Fellows of the program. “The fellowships are a way to recognize the important contributions these people have made,” said André Turcotte, chair of the program. “We want to establish close and long-term associations with them.’’ The 2011-2012 Fellows include Guy Giorno, former chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office; Barry McLoughlin and Laura Peck, founders of McLoughlin Media; political strategist Richard Anderson; lobbyist and strategist Michael Robinson; Robin Sears, veteran communications, marketing and public affairs adviser; Chris Froggatt, public affairs and communications professional; Liz Mulholland, independent public policy consultant; Scott Reid, former PMO director of communications; political columnist Paul Wells; and former Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken. The pioneering program is made possible through the generous financial support of Calgary businessman Clayton H. Riddell and the Riddell Family Charitable Foundation.