Place of Birth
Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Activism, Philanthropy, Social Entrepreneurship
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.
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