Marc Kielburger

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Marc Kielburger
Marc Kielburger
OccupationSocial entrepreneur
Known forCo Founder of WE Charity and Me to We
Notable work
Me To WE
Spouse(s)Roxanne Joyal
RelativesCraig Kielburger (brother)
AwardsOrder Of Canada 2010

Marc Kielburger (born 1977) is a Canadian author, social entrepreneur, columnist, humanitarian and activist for children's rights. He is the co-founder, with his brother Craig, of the We Movement, which consists of We Charity, an international development and youth empowerment organization; Me to We, a social enterprise; and We Day, an annual youth empowerment event. In 2010, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada.[1]

Early years and education[edit]

Kielburger was born in 1977 to parents who were both schoolteachers,[2] Fred and Theresa Kielburger.[3][4]

He attended Brebeuf College School (Toronto), and Neuchâtel Junior College (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), which he graduated from in 1995.[5][6][7] He was a member of the Brebeuf debate club and participated in debates run by the Ontario Pro-Con Debating Forum.[8]

In 1990, at 13, through a program for school credit organized by Fintan Kilbride, Kielburger volunteered in Jamaica at a hospice for teenage mothers and a home for elderly homeless people who suffered from leprosy.[9] During the same year he launched a one-person campaign against the production and use of chemically based home cleaners and received the YTV Achievement Award.[10] He also won 2 awards at Canada-Wide Science Fair, in 1990 and in 1992.[11]

Marc Kielburger was the youngest to received the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship for his efforts.[12] At 18, he volunteered for eight months at an AIDS hospice in the slums of Bangkok, Thailand.[13]

He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, completing a degree in International Relations. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 2000[14][15] and completed a law degree at Oxford University, with an emphasis on human rights law.[16]

Activism and social entrepreneurship[edit]

In 1995, he co-founded Free the Children (later renamed We Charity) with his brother Craig.[17] According to We Charity creed, volunteering and service to society should be integrated into daily life. They use the term "minga" to describe when communities gather to complete a large task that benefits all members of the community in a short amount of time. Marc and Craig see this practice as the essence of We Charity's mission[18] In 1999, Kielburger co-founded Leaders Today, an organization that trains young people to develop skills and confidence to effect social change.[19]

In 2005, Kielburger's work was recognized through an Ashoka fellowship3, and Dalton McGuinty invited him to the Ontario Spirit award committee.[20][21] In 2006 he became a columnist for The Globe and Mail.[22]

In 2008, Marc co-founded Me to We, a social enterprise that provides socially responsible products and services, and donates half of its net profits to We Charity. He also co-founded We Day, an annual youth empowerment event held in large stadiums in cities across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.1 During the same year he and his brother began collaborating with Oprah Winfrey on the O Ambassadors project. As part of the collaboration We Charity (then still Free the Children) and Oprah's Angel Network opened O Ambassador clubs in schools across North America. The clubs and their members took part in various awareness and fundraising events for people in need.[23]

In 2009, Marc and his brother Craig were the Olympic Torch bearers.[24] The We Day event hosted by the brothers that year featured the Dalai Lama as key speaker together with a list of international celebrities and activists, who spoke of the power of individual commitment, social empowerment, and the energy of youth to deliver change.[25]

In 2012 Marc Keilburger served as counsellor at the Pittsburgh One Young World Summits.[26] One Young World is a UK-based NGO that works with young leaders from around the world to develop solutions for pressing social and environmental issues.

In 2015, he managed Walgreens and Unilever’s charity program, aimed at bringing clean water to Kenya.[27]

On November 9, 2016, the day after the US presidential election, Marc and Craig led a We Day at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. The theme was “the world needs more Canada”. Speakers included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Governor General David Johnston.[28]

In 2019 he joined the Board of Governors of Canada's Most Admired™, after being named Most Admired CEO in Canada in the Public Sector 2015.[28]

Marc is a member of the Board of Directors of Prince's Trust Canada, a registered charity established by Charles, Prince of Whales to contribute to the empowerment and development of sustainable communities in Canada.[29] He is also one of seven board members at Freshii, a Canadian fast casual restaurant franchise.[30]

Recognition and awards[edit]

Year Recognition Type Awarding body
1990 YTV Achievement Award Award YTV (TV channel)
1990 Best Junior Project Award Canada-Wide Science Fair
2004 Canada's Top 40 Under 40[31]

At the age of 27, he was the youngest to receive this status at the time.

Award Caldwell Partners International Inc.
2004 Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship Medal Government of Ontario
2005 Doctor of education [32][33] Honorary degree Nipissing University
2005 Ashoka Fellow [34] Fellowship Ashoka
2006 Toronto Catholic District School Board Alumnus of the Year[35] Award Toronto Catholic District School Board
2007 Young Global Leader [36][37] Award World Economic Forum
2007 Honorary Degree [38] Honorary degree University of Guelph
2008 Social Entrepreneur Of The Year (Canada) [39] Award Ernst & Young
2009 Thornhill's Person of the Year [40] Award Thornhill Post
2009 Vancouver Board of Trade Engaged Citizenship Award [41] Award Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
2010 Order of Canada [42] National order Governor General of Canada
2011 Honorary Doctor of Law Honorary degree University of Toronto
2011 Honorary Witness [43] Award Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Canada)
2011 Honorary Doctor of Law [44] Honorary degree Western University
2012 Honorary Doctor of Law [45] Honorary degree Carleton University
2012 Honorary Doctor of Law [46] Honorary degree Kwantlen Polytechnic University
2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal [47] Medal Order in Council
2012 Order of St. Jean de Brebeuf [48] Award Brebeuf College School
2013 Canada's Walk of Fame star [49] Award Canada's Walk of Fame
2014 Honorary degree Honorary degree Capilano University
2015 Canada's Most Admired CEO29 [50] Award Canada's Most Admired
2018 Doctor of Laws [51] Honorary degree University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Personal life[edit]

Marc Kielburger is married to Roxanne Joyal.[52] Roxanne Joyal is a Rhodes Scholar [53] and a fellow Member of the Order of Canada.[54][55] They have 2 daughters[56]


  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2002). Take Action! A Guide to Active Citizenship. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471271321. OCLC 51566318.
  • Kielburger, Marc (2004). Take More Action. Thomson Nelson. ISBN 978-0771580352.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2004). Me To We: Turning Self-Help on Its Head. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470835104. OCLC 55510177.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2006). Me To We: Finding Meaning In A Material World. Fireside. ISBN 9780743294515. OCLC 71126899.
  • Singh, Lekha; Kielburger, Marc (2007). The making of an activist. Friesens Corporation. ISBN 9781553831310. OCLC 319758042.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc; Page, Shelley (2009). The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute. Me to We. ISBN 978-1553655053.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2010). Global Voices. Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1553658016.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc; Trethewey, Laura (2011). Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians. We to Me. ISBN 9780978437565. OCLC 809232934.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2012). My Grandma Follows Me on Twitter: And Other First-World Problems We're Lucky to Have. Me to We. ISBN 9781927435021. OCLC 810526157.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Kielburger, Marc (2013). The Power of We Day: Moving the World from Me to We. Me to We. ISBN 978-1927435113.
  • Kielburger, Marc; Antonello, Marisa; Laidley, Victoria (2016). Everyone's Birthday: A Kid's Adventure in Thailand. Me to We. ISBN 978-0978437572.
  • Kielburger, Craig; Branson, Holly; Kielburger, Marc (2018). WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make A Living, and Change the World. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-44781-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • Coleman, Linda S.; Funk, Robert W. (2005). "Take Action: Children's Rights Are Human Rights: Marc Kielburger and Craig Keilburger". Professional and Public Writing: A Rhetoric and Reader for Advanced Composition. Pearson Education. p. 158. ISBN 9780131838857.
  • "Young People Changing the World: An Interview with Marc Kielburger". A Human Future. L'Arche Canada. 6 (March 2007). 2007.
  • Asabere-Ameyaw, Akwasi; Anamuah-Mensah, Jophus; Sefa Dei, George; Raheem, Kolawole, eds. (2014). "Me to We". Indigenist African Development and Related Issues: Towards a Transdisciplinary Perspective. Sense Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-94-6209-657-8 – via Google Books.
  • Dutton, Jane E.; Spreitzer, Gretchen M. (2014). "Cultivate Hope". How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-62656-028-4.
  • Scudamore, Brian (October 18, 2017). "WE Co-Founder Marc Kielburger On Mentors, Mandela, And Spurring Social Change At 17". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2019.


  1. ^ "Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada | The Governor General of Canada". 2019-01-20. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
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  13. ^ "Q&A: WE's Marc & Craig Kielburger on Teaming Up with Travelzoo". Travelzoo. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  14. ^ "Rhodes Scholars - Loran Scholars Foundation". Loran Scholars Foundation - Fondation Boursiers Loran. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
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  17. ^ "Stars shine at We Day, inspire students to change the world". The Seattle Times. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
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  20. ^ " - Your favorite newspapers and magazines". Retrieved 2019-09-28.
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  31. ^ "Top 40 under 40 winners whose stars keep rising". Retrieved 2019-09-29.
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  33. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients | Nipissing University". 2019-01-20. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
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  35. ^ "Nurturing Our Catholic Community/" (PDF).
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  38. ^ "U of G to Honour 'Global Citizens' During Thematic Convocation | University of Guelph". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  39. ^ "Three Canadian entrepreneurs make creating social value their bottom line".
  40. ^ "Thornhill's Person of the Year: Marc Kielburger - Post City Magazines - December 2009 - Toronto, Ontario". 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  41. ^ "Me to We mentality inspires local school to act globally | The Province". 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  42. ^ "Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada | The Governor General of Canada". 2019-01-20. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  43. ^ "Honorary Witness". Retrieved 2019-09-29.
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  45. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded Since 1954 - Senate". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  46. ^ "Kwantlen honours Craig & Marc Kielburger, co-founders of Free The Children, and Me to We, with honorary doctor of laws". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  47. ^ "Diamond Jubilee Gala toasts exceptional Canadians".
  48. ^ "Order of St. Jean de Brebeuf recipients to be honoured Saturday". The Hamilton Spectator. 2012-04-30. ISSN 1189-9417. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  49. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame". Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
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  55. ^ General, Office of the Secretary to the Governor (2018-01-22). "Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
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External links[edit]