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Craig Kielburger

Craig Kielburger

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Craig Kielburger, CM
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, MSM
Meritorious Service Medal (Canada)
The Meritorious Service Medal is a decoration that is, within the Canadian system of honours, one of the two Meritorious Service Decorations gifted by the Canadian monarch, generally through his or her viceroy-in-Council...

, OMC
Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship is an honorary medal produced by the Canadian Province of Ontario. It was established by the Government of Ontario in 1973 to recognize people who, through exceptional long-term efforts, have made outstanding contributions to the well being of their...

 (born December 17, 1982) is a Canadian activist for the rights of children. He is the founder of Free The Children
Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and youth movement founded in 1995 by children's rights advocate Craig Kielburger. The organization is largely youth-funded, based on the concept of "children helping children." It specializes in sustainable development in countries of Kenya, Ecuador,...

 and co-founder of Me to We
Me to We
Me to We is a for-profit, self-described social enterprise founded in 2008 by brothers Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger that provides socially responsible products and services and donates 50% of its profits to charity Free The Children....

. On February 20, 2007, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 by the Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

.

Early life


Kielburger was born in Thornhill, Ontario
Thornhill, Ontario
Thornhill is a community in the Greater Toronto Area of Southern Ontario, Canada, located on the northern border of the city of Toronto. Once a municipal village, Thornhill is now a community and postal designation geographically split into two municipalities along Yonge Street, the city of...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. He attended Bishop Scalabrini Catholic School, in Thornhill, which is where he did a school project which eventually gave birth to Free The Children and was assigned by Mr. Fedrigoni of Bishop Scalabrini. He graduated with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, a double minor in Psychology and Politics from the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

. In 2009, he completed his Executive MBA at Schulich School of Business
Schulich School of Business
The Schulich School of Business is York University's business school located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and is an internationally-ranked business school. Schulich offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business administration, finance, public administration and international business as...

 at York University as the program's youngest-ever graduate.

Public Life


Kielburger was featured in a special documentary episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, titled "Doing What Matters", in which cast members are shown traveling to Africa to help build schools for children in Kenya. He would later appear as himself in a Season 7 episode of Degrassi, in which a student (Anya) organizes an event with Free the Children to raise awareness of living conditions in Africa.[4]

Kielburger contributes a regular column about social activism around the world for the Toronto Star titled Global Voices.

Kielburger is on the National board of Scouts Canada, the movement that he says launched his career in activism.

In 2000, Kielburger was awarded $319,000 in damages as settlement for a libel suit launched against the now-defunct Saturday Night
Saturday Night (magazine)
Saturday Night was a Canadian general interest magazine. It was founded in Toronto, Ontario in 1887.The publication was first established as a weekly broadsheet newspaper about public affairs and the arts, which was later expanded into a general interest magazine. The editor, Edmund E. Sheppard,...

 magazine. The settlement covered Kielburger's legal costs and the remainder was used to set up a trust fund for Free The Children
Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and youth movement founded in 1995 by children's rights advocate Craig Kielburger. The organization is largely youth-funded, based on the concept of "children helping children." It specializes in sustainable development in countries of Kenya, Ecuador,...

.

In June 2010, Kielburger joined CP24, a Toronto-based news television station. As 'Special Correspondent' he interviewed a variety of Toronto citizens and visitors regarding their thoughts about the 2010 G-20 Toronto Summit being held in the city in the weeks following. He reported locally on eyewitness accounts of the 2010 Central Canada earthquake and at regular intervals during the violent and nonviolent protests in Downtown Toronto on the weekend of June 26 and 27.[6]

In October 2010, Kielburger’s Shameless Idealists came to Canada’s CTV channel. In front of a high school audience, Kielburger conducts one-on-one interviews with socially active public figures including K'naan
K'naan
K'naan , born Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978, is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist.-Biography:Born in Somalia, K'naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu and lived there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia's most...

, Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair , known professionally as Cherie Booth QC, is a British barrister working in the legal system of England and Wales. She is married to the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; the couple have three sons and one daughter...

, Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

, Jacob Hoggard
Jacob Hoggard
Jacob William Hoggard is a Canadian singer. He finished in third place on the second season of Canadian Idol. He is currently the lead singer of Hedley.-Early years:...

, Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to...

 Sr., Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez , better known by his stage name Martin Sheen, is an American film actor best known for his performances in the films Badlands and Apocalypse Now , and in the television series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.He is considered one of the best actors never to be...

 and Betty Williams
Betty Williams
Elizabeth or Betty Williams may refer to:* Betty Williams , the Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Northern Ireland* Betty Williams , a Welsh Labour Party politician and MP...

.

Shortly before the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2010 Haiti earthquake
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicentre near the town of Léogâne, approximately west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks...

, Kielburger traveled with a W5 television crew to a Free The Children school in Haiti alongside actress and activist Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow is an American actress, singer, humanitarian, and fashion model.Farrow first gained wide acclaim for her role as Allison Mackenzie in the soap opera Peyton Place, and for her subsequent short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra...

. A documentary of their experience aired in January 2011.

Free the Children


In 1995, when he was 12 years old, Craig saw a headline in the Toronto Star that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The accompanying story was about a young Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih
Iqbal Masih
Iqbal Masih , was a young Pakistan Islamic boy who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four, became an international figurehead for the Bonded Labour Liberation Front at the age of 10 after he escape from servitude, and was assassinated at the age of 13.-Early life and...

 who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four, became an international figurehead for the fight against child labor by 12 years of age, and was brutally murdered in 1995 at the age of 12.

Angered by the article, Kielburger began researching child labour. He took the article to school, gathered friends his same age and together founded a group called the "Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds," This group would evolve into "Free The Children", an international organization that has 45 countries participating in helping the world become a better place. In December 1995, Kielburger travelled to Asia with Alam Rahman, a 25-year-old family friend from Bangladesh, to see the conditions for himself. While there, he learned that then-Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

 was travelling to India. After being denied a meeting, Craig arranged a press conference where he announced that the prime minister had a “moral responsibility” to take action on child labour. The Prime Minister eventually met with him and raised the issue of child labour with the trade delegation, and spoke on the matter with the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India.

He and a group of others also successfully lobbied the Canadian and Italian governments to stiffen laws against their nationals who sexually exploit children in developing countries like those in Asia.

Free The Children began to receive international attention - and partnered with
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

's Angel Network, for which Kielburger has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show multiple times.

The organization has to date built over 650 schools and school rooms and implemented projects in 45 developing countries through its approach of "children helping children". The majority of the organization’s annual funding comes from funds raised by young people.

Me to We


Kielburger also founded Me to We
Me to We
Me to We is a for-profit, self-described social enterprise founded in 2008 by brothers Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger that provides socially responsible products and services and donates 50% of its profits to charity Free The Children....

, a social enterprise that donates half its annual profits to Free The Children by selling socially conscious products and services. Me to We's offerings include ethically made organic clothing, artisan accessories made in Kenya, motivational books and speakers, youth leadership camps, and volunteer trips to Kenya, India, Ecuador, the Arizona-Mexico border, and rural China. The aim of the enterprise is to "eventually cover the charity's administrative costs, so all donations can go directly to projects."
The organization reinvests the other half of its profits to grow the social enterprise.

In 2004 Kielburger co-authored a book with his brother Marc, also entitled Me to We. It focuses on explaining their philosophy of volunteerism, service to others and social involvement with contributions by Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

, Richard Gere
Richard Gere
Richard Tiffany Gere is an American actor. He began acting in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and a starring role in Days of Heaven. He came to prominence in 1980 for his role in the film American Gigolo, which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol...

, Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE , is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National...

, Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

 and others.

In the year of its founding, the Me to We organization was recognized for its new model of social entrepreneurship with the national Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, recognizing extraordinary leadership and innovation in organizations which address social needs.

Recognition And Awards


Primarily for his work with Free The Children, Kielburger has been recognized for his work with awards such as:
  • The Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award
  • The Community of Christ International Peace Award
    Community of Christ International Peace Award
    The Community of Christ International Peace Award was established to honor and bring attention to the work of peacemaking and peacemakers in the world...

  • The 2002 World of Children Awards
    World of Children Awards
    The World of Children Awards is a global recognition and funding program for people specifically and exclusively serving the needs of children. Sometimes referred to as the "Nobel Prize© for Child Advocacy," the San Francisco Bay Area based non-profit was founded in 1996 and is led by Co-Founder's...

     - Youth Award
  • The World Economic Forum Global Leaders of Tomorrow Award
  • The Top 20 Under 20 Award
  • The Reebok Human Rights Award
    Reebok Human Rights Award
    The Reebok Human Rights Award honours activists under the age of 30 who fight for human rights through non-violent means. Each year, the award is given to four or five individuals. Each receives a grant of US$50,000 that must be used to support their human rights work. The awards are underwritten...

  • The Roosevelt Freedom Medal
  • The 2004 Kiwanis International Foundation World Service Medal
  • The Medal of Meritorious Service
    Meritorious Service Decoration (Canada)
    The Meritorious Service Decorations , available in two forms as the Meritorious Service Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal , are Canadian decorations awarded to those who have demonstrated an outstanding level of service or set an exemplary standard of...

  • The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
    Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
    The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship is an honorary medal produced by the Canadian Province of Ontario. It was established by the Government of Ontario in 1973 to recognize people who, through exceptional long-term efforts, have made outstanding contributions to the well being of their...

  • The State of the World Forum award
  • Honorary Doctorate of education from Nipissing University
    Nipissing University
    Nipissing University is a public liberal arts university located in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, on a site overlooking Lake Nipissing. The university's unique character is defined by its location in Northern Ontario, and a large and highly respected faculty of education...

     for his work in leadership development
  • At age 23, became the youngest person listed to the Globe and Mails Top 40 under 40
  • The 2006 World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child
  • Made a Member of the Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

    .http://www.gg.ca/media/doc.asp?lang=e&DocID=4984
  • Honorary degree in law from University of Guelph
    University of Guelph
    The University of Guelph, also known as U of G, is a comprehensive public research university in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. It was established in 1964 after the amalgamation of Ontario Agricultural College, the Macdonald Institute, and the Ontario Veterinary College...

    .http://www.uoguelph.ca/mediarel/2007/06/_u_of_g_to_hono.html
  • Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta
    University of Alberta
    The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Canada...

    .http://www.camrosebooster.com/story/augustana-confers-honorary-degree-childrens-activist

External links