Concordia University

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Honorary degree citation - Marc Kielburger

By: Daniel Salée, June 2012

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Marc Kielburger and Mr. Craig Kielburger, co-founders of Free the Children.

Community engagement, volunteerism, and doing things that matter– these are among the things easily associated with Marc and Craig Kielburger. Their story is well known - in 1995, at age 12, Craig saw a headline in the Toronto Star that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The story was about a young Pakistani boy forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four – his tragic story became an international symbol for the fight against child labor. The story moved Craig to research child labour, gathering school friends together in what was the beginning of Free the Children, an international organization empowering youth to act as agents of social change.

La suite des choses se révèle des plus inspirantes. En effet, Marc et Craig Kielburger s’unissent pour fonder Enfants Entraide. Ils établissent alors plus qu’un organisme; en réalité, ils créent un contexte inédit qui encourage les jeunes à se mobiliser autour d’enjeux sociaux. Par ailleurs, les deux frères démarrent Me to We, une firme qui conçoit des vêtements et des accessoires écologiques et conformes au principe de la responsabilité sociale, de même que des voyages de bénévolat à l’étranger, des ateliers et du matériel de formation au leadership, et des livres sur le progrès social. Pour les Kielburger, esprit d’entreprise et engagement social ne sont donc pas des notions incompatibles. Ainsi, en mettant sur pied Me to We, ils visent notamment à financer la mission et les programmes d’Enfants Entraide.

Chaque année, Marc et Craig Kielburger organisent la journée « Du moi au nous », l’initiative d’Enfants Entraide la mieux connue à l’échelle nationale. À preuve, 90 000 élèves de quelque 3 000 écoles y assistent en personne, et la télédiffusion de l’événement attire 5,4 millions de spectateurs. À cette occasion, les frères Kielburger partagent la scène – et leurs idées – avec des Prix Nobel de la paix, des chefs d’État, des célébrités, des groupes rock, des acteurs et des icônes de la culture populaire. Ils ont ainsi côtoyé le dalaï-lama, l’ex-président des États-Unis Bill Clinton, l’ex-dirigeant soviétique Mikhail Gorbachev, l’archevêque Desmond Tutu et Sir Richard Branson, pour ne nommer que ceux-là.

Craig is a New York Times bestselling author, who has written nine books. He has a degree in peace and conflict studies from the University of Toronto and is the youngest graduate of the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program. He has received ten honorary doctorates and degrees, The Roosevelt Freedom Medal, The World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child (often called the Children’s Nobel Prize) and is one of the youngest recipients of The Order of Canada. Craig’s work has been featured on multiple appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, 60 Minutes and The Today Show; and in People, Time and The Economist.

Marc graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, completing a degree in international relations. He won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship and went on to complete a law degree at Oxford University. Marc has also received six honorary doctorates and degrees for his work in the field of education and human rights. Marc is the recipient of many honours, including the Order of Canada and selected by the World Economic Forum as one of 250 Young Global Leaders. His work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, BBC, as well as many other news and print media.

Skilled communicators, educators, champions of youth and engagement, entrepreneurs with a social conscience, Marc and Craig have consistently set themselves apart but urge us to come on the journey with them, in better understanding our world and valuing the contributions of young people.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Mr. Marc Kielburger and Mr. Craig Kielburger, so that you may confer upon them the degrees of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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