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Mr. Craig Kielburger and Mr. Marc Kielburger

Craig and Marc KielburgerDoctor of Laws, honoris causa

Faculty of Education

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

For their distinguished achievements as humanitarians, social entrepreneurs, authors and activists for the rights of children, the university proudly confers upon Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Craig and Marc Kielburger co-founded WE (formerly Free the Children) more than 20 years ago. Their international development and youth empowerment organization now includes WE Charity, ME to WE, a social enterprise promoting sustainable change and WE Day, a series of arena-sized annual youth empowerment events held in cities across Canada, the US and the UK.

The Kielburgers launched WE in 1995, after Craig read about Iqbal Masih, a child slave in Pakistan who had been murdered for speaking out about child labour. Said Craig at the time: “We were a dozen kids sitting around our parents’ kitchen table, with a fax machine and a Commodore 64 computer, making poster boards to raise awareness about child labour on the other side of the world.” Despite their young ages, the brothers travelled to South Asia to meet street children and connect with young people labouring in factories.

The Kielburgers and their friends struggled to find a charity focused on engaging youth which recognized the power of young people to tackle poverty, injustice and other challenges. So, they started their own—WE is an organization that has gone on to build more than 1,000 schools around the world, directly providing 200,000 children with an education. WE has also facilitated sustainable and locally run healthcare, clean water and sanitation programs for more than one million people, and has empowered more than 30,000 women with the financial independence to support both themselves and their families. At home, the impact of their work can be felt from coast to coast to coast. When Craig and Marc started their life’s work, young people were the least likely group in Canada to volunteer; today, young people are the most likely group to give back.

Marc Kielburger holds an international relations degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also earned a human rights law degree on a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in the United Kingdom. In addition to numerous honorary degrees, he was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Craig Kielburger holds a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Trinity College at the University of Toronto. He is the youngest-ever graduate of the dual-school Executive MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Ontario and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He was named a Laureate of the World’s Children’s Prize in 2006.

These Order of Canada recipients are nationally syndicated columnists and have co-authored numerous books, including New York Times bestseller Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World, and their newest book WEconomy: You can find meaning, make a living, and change the world. Collectively, their brotherly mission has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children around the world and has sparked a life changing passion among an entire generation of young change-makers.

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