Marc Kielburger (NJC ’95)
Co-founder of Free The Children
Co-founder and co-CEO of ME to WE
Marc Kielburger is an accomplished social advocate and leadership specialist, a
bestselling author and a popular speaker. After NJC, Marc Kielburger went on to
graduate magna cum laude from Harvard University, completing a degree in
International Relations. He then won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship and completed
a law degree at Oxford University with an emphasis on human rights law.
“Sometimes you don’t fully realize the impact NJC is having on your life until you
leave this place. But I can assure you that the impact is profound, lifelong and
lasting,” says Marc. “I first learned about NJC from my parents. They were both
educators and knew the incredible history and strong reputation of NJC. For me,
NJC stood out because of its international programming and the dynamic experiences
offered. When I was looking at where I wanted my academic path to take me, NJC
seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something completely different for my last
year of high school. I was seeking an opportunity that would challenge me and
provide a new perspective. NJC was the perfect combination to supply me with not
only academic, but personal growth.”
Marc was not sure what it would be like to live with a French-speaking family in
Switzerland, but he soon found himself enjoying the experience.
“It was amazing to be immersed fully into the Swiss culture. The ‘pension’ provided
a perfect forum for me to practice my French on a regular basis and take part in
evening activities with my host family,” he recalls. “My madame was fantastic and
warmly welcomed me into her family which made the transition much easier.
At first, I was very sheepish and shy, but through family dinners and small excursions
together, I was fully embraced which then added a whole new dimension to the
experience. My time in Switzerland was incredible and I truly believe that there is no
other way to fully immerse yourself in someone else’s culture.”
There were many travel opportunities for the Class of 1995, but for Marc it was the
trip to Tunisia that really stood out. “In Tunisia, we got to sleep in the Sahara desert
under the stars,” Marc remembers, “and so the trip holds a very special place for me
as it was my first journey to Africa. It is a continent I have since fallen in love with,
and is now where I spend my summers as part of my work with Free The Children.
That NJC trip to Tunisia provided such a wonderful introduction to a remarkable
continent with incredible people.”
Looking back, Marc believes that his time at NJC had a major influence on the
choices he made with his post-secondary education and his career.
“Today, my work with Free The Children and ME to WE provides a very dynamic and
international work environment. I have the pleasure of frequently travelling around
the world and meeting many people from different cultures and countries,” says
Marc. “My time with NJC has better prepared me than I could have imagined.
The experience helped me to learn how to immerse myself into a new culture and to
broaden my perspective. I then went on to study International Relations and to do my
post-graduate degree in England. I firmly believe that formative year at NJC opened
my eyes to a world I wouldn't have otherwise come to know at such a young age.”