Early life and Education
Craig Kielburger graduated from Trinity College at the University of Toronto with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. He then completed the dual-school Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program.
When Craig Kielburger was just 12 years old in 1995, he read about the story of a 12-year-old Pakistani boy, Iqbal Masih, who was murdered on account of his efforts to end child slavery in carpet mills. The story of Masih’s activism and fate taught Kielburger that one person could indeed make a difference in the world. He enlisted his brother and classmates in his efforts and launched an advocacy group called Kids Can Free the Children. One of the group’s first projects was a petition campaign to free children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, who was imprisoned by the Indian government.
No longer content with just reading stories in newspapers, Kielburger traveled to Southeast Asia to get a first-hand look at the conditions there. Despite his request being initially denied, Kielburger managed to arrange a meeting with Jean Chretien, who was prime minister of Canada at the time and who was also visiting the region. The meeting garnered media attention in Canada and around the world. Kielburger eventually was interviewed on 60 Minutes and on The Oprah Winfrey Show, both of which increased the visibility of Free the Children, which went on to become WE Charity.
Craig Kielburger is a social entrepreneur. He is the founder of a global social movement dedicated to empowering people to change their communities. With his brother Marc, Craig Kielburger built a network of international philanthropic projects that are providing comprehensive solutions to help move disadvantaged people out of poverty.
WE Charity is the parent organization of several initiatives, including WE Schools, WE Day, WE Villages, and ME to WE.
The WE organization operates from The award-winning WE Global Learning Centre in Toronto.
WE Schools is a unique, year-long educational program delivered to thousands of schools across North America and the UK that cultivates compassion in young people and gives them the tools to generate transformative social impact. WE Schools provides a unique curriculum and educational resources to inspire students to find the local and global issues that they are passionate about and to take action on them.
WE Day is a series of arena-sized events that bring together the best speakers and performers to celebrate the efforts of young people who have made a difference by taking at least one local and one global action through WE Schools.
WE Villages works to empower people and transform communities in developing countries through a unique, holistic, and sustainable approach that seeks to tackle the most common causes of poverty, which are a lack of education, water, health, food, and opportunity.
ME to WE is a social enterprise that sells products through which people can make an impact on the world and the proceeds of which go to a constructive social cause. More than 50% of these proceeds are reinvested in the WE Charity.
Accomplishments and Special Recognition
- Youngest individual to graduate from Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program
- Awarded 15 honorary doctorate and other degrees in recognition of his extensive work in human rights and education.
- Publisher of 12 books, frequently on the New Times Best Seller List.
- The CAW Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award
- The Order of Canada
- The World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child
- Voted as one of the most trusted influencers in Canada by a Reader’s Digest poll
- Named with his brother Marc in 2015 as Canada’s Most Admired CEO in the Broader Public Sector
- All info from: www.craigkielburger.com