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REF NO.: 78

SUBJECT: International children’s rights advocate to visit Memorial
DATE: Oct. 25, 2004

Note to editors:

Celebrate Memorial continues with its 10-day celebration of events for members of the university community and beyond. As part of this year’s theme connecting to community, Memorial University presents internationally renowned speaker, child and youth advocate, Craig Kielburger who will deliver a talk titled Leaders Today: A Morning with Craig Kielburger at 10 a.m.on Friday, Oct. 29, in the Field House, Westerland Road. A limited number of tickets are available to the general public at no cost. These tickets can be picked up at the Career Development office on the 4th floor of the University Centre, Arctic Avenue.

“We are very excited to have Craig Kielburger join us for our Celebrate Memorial festivities this year. Mr. Kielburger is someone who can inspire students to get involved and excite them about how ideas can transform the world,” said Dean of Student Affairs and Services Dr. Lilly Walker. “He is also an outstanding example of leadership potential that started small and has grown to global proportions. We hope he will be an inspiration to everyone who attends his talk.”

“Craig Kileburger has gained an international reputation as an individual who, through his own life work, has motivated and mobilized young people around the world to take action,” added Rob Shea, director, Department of Career Development and Experiential Learning. “We facilitated Mr. Kielburger’s visit to Memorial as part of our continuing work to encourage our students, and in this case also high school
students, to take an active role in refining their leadership skills and taking personal leadership for their future. In addition, Mr. Kielburger’s presentation is directly relevant to our university mission and theme of creating a better community to live and work.”

Mr. Kielburger first became a spokesperson for children’s rights when he was 12 years old. Searching for the comics in the local paper, a front-page article caught his attention. He read about a young boy from Pakistan who was sold into bondage as a carpet weaver, escaped and was murdered for speaking out against child labour. The story affected him so much that he gathered a group of friends and founded the organization, Free the Children (FTC).

Now 21 years of age, Mr. Kielburger has traveled to more than 40 countries visiting street and working children and speaking out in defense of children’s rights. He frequently addresses business groups, government bodies, educators, unions and students around the world. He has advocated on behalf of children in meetings with political and religious leaders including prime ministers and presidents, CEOs of major corporations, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth II and the late Mother Teresa. Mr. Kielburger’s work has been featured on major television programs in North and South America and Europe, including CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Show and 60 Minutes.

His first book, Free the Children, published by Harper Collins in the United States, has been translated into eight languages. Mr. Kielburger and his older brother Marc, a Rhodes scholar currently studying at Oxford, have co-authored Take Action – A Guide to Active Citizenship for Youth, which was released in February 2002 by Gage Educational Publishing.

Free the Children (www.freethechildren.com) has grown into an influential international children’s organization with hundreds of thousands of young people in more than 35 countries participating in its activities. Youth members of FTC have raised funds for the construction of more than 350 primary schools in the rural areas of developing nations, providing education everyday to over 20,000 children. They have distributed about 125,000 school kits and in excess of $3 million worth of medical supplies to needy families. FTC currently supports water projects, health clinics, alternative income cooperatives and primary schools in 21 developing nations.

Celebrate Memorial is an annual celebration of Memorial’s connection to the community. What began in 1999 with the Festival of Anniversaries, highlighting Memorial’s 50th anniversary as a degree-granting institution, has today become a celebration of the contributions that Memorial’s students, faculty, staff and alumni make to Newfoundland and Labrador. For a schedule of upcoming events, please visit www.mun.ca/celebrate.

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