Posted on May 31, 2011 by Tia Lalani

On Augustana Campus this Sunday, the University of Alberta will confer an honorary doctor of laws degree to the founder of international children’s charity Free the Children and one of the youngest recipients of the Order of Canada, Craig Kielburger.

By Christopher Thrall –

On Augustana Campus this Sunday, the University of Alberta will confer an honorary degree to the founder of international children’s charity Free the Children. A children’s rights activist and one of the youngest recipients of the Order of Canada, Craig Kielburger will receive an honorary doctor of laws at 2:30 p.m. during the centenary convocation at Augustana.

“It’s a great fit for our campus to be theplace where this honorary degree is presented, given our high degree of engagement and commitment to internationalization,” says Dr. Roger Epp, dean of Augustana Campus. Every year, one in three Augustana students commits more than 20 hours of service-learning in their community, and one in five graduates with significant international experience.

When he was 12 years old, Craig Kielburger was angered by an article on child labour and founded a school group called the Twelve Twelve-Year-Olds. He and a group of others successfully lobbied the Canadian and Italian governments to stiffen laws against their nationals who sexually exploit children in developing countries.

This group would evolve into Free The Children, an international organization that has one million young people in 45 countries, building over 500 schools and implementing projects in 45 developing countries. Craig has been recognized for his activism with awards from countries around the world, and will receive his honorary University of Alberta degree before the graduates of Augustana’s centenary convocation.

“This year’s speaker can inspire the kinds of students who are graduating from this place,” says Epp.

By conferring an honorary degree, the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus also connects with the distinguished recipient. “Honorary degrees raise the profile of Augustana for our publics, but we also want our recipients to become aware of who we are and what we aspire to do,” says Epp. “They can become our advocates wherever in the world they happen to be. Craig Kielburger is one of those people who will help us celebrate that.”

The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus will mark the end of the Centenary Homecoming Celebration with the convocation of the 2011 graduating class on June 5, 2011.


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