Craig Kielburger, Canadian child rights activist, wins international "Children's Nobel Prize" to be awarded by Queen Silvia of Sweden

Apr 18, 2006, 01:00 ET from Free The Children

    TORONTO, April 18 /PRNewswire/ - Craig Kielburger, international child
 rights activist and founder of Free The Children, is awarded the 2006 World
 Children's Prize (WCP). Referred to as the "Children's Nobel Prize", the
 annual award is given to one recipient for their outstanding contributions
 to the defense of children's rights. The award was announced today and will
 be presented by Queen Silvia of Sweden at a prize ceremony on April 20 in
     Awarded in recognition of Kielburger's leadership and development
 efforts through his youth-driven charity, Free The Children, the
 organization works to free children from poverty and exploitation through
 education opportunities. Kielburger founded Free The Children in 1995 when
 he was 12-years-old. Since then, through the voices and actions of young
 people, the dynamic organization has lead a youth movement spanning the
     "It is my great privilege to accept this award on behalf of all of the
 young people of Free The Children who are committed to creating a better
 world for their peers" said Kielburger.
     The award has special meaning for Free The Children's founder, as the
 first World Children's Prize was awarded posthumously to Iqbal Masih, for
 Masih's fight against child labour. An article in a local paper detailing
 Iqbal's heroic tale and his tragic death first inspired Kielburger to take
 a stand for the rights of children.
     "Exactly eleven years ago this month I learned about Iqbal Masih and
 his battle to raise awareness about the plight of the world's children"
 said Kielburger. "It was Iqbal's example that first inspired me to join the
 struggle for children's rights and to found Free The Children. Today, what
 began as a group of twelve year olds dreaming of changing the world has
 grown into the world's largest network of children helping children through
     Established by the Swedish Children's World Association in 2000, the
 WCP is part of the world's largest annual education program about
 children's rights. Past recipients of the WCP include Global Friends Award
 winners, Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel.
     Kielburger was selected by an international child jury, consisting of
 former child soldiers, slaves, refugees and street children. Other
 finalists for the prize were Jetsum Pema, the Dalai Lama's sister and the
 Rwanda Orphans Organization, aiding children orphaned during the country's
 civil war in 1994. The prestigious award is accompanied by a $40,000 USD
 prize which will help ensure the continuing success of Free The Children
 programming around the world.
     More information about the World Children's Prize is available at
     Craig Kielburger, child rights activist and founder of Free The
 Children, the world's largest network of children helping children through
 education is a three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the
 co-founder of Leaders Today, the top youth leadership training organization
 in the world. Craig's work has been featured on Oprah, CNN, 60 Minutes, and
 profiled in The Economist, TIME and People magazine and numerous
 newspapers. His first book, Free The Children, won the Christopher Book
 Award and has been translated into eight languages. Craig is the co-author
 of the national bestsellers Take Action!-A Guide to Active Citizenship,
 Take More Action and Me to We. Craig is the recipient of an honorary
 doctorate of education from Nipissing University for his work in leadership
 development and is currently pursuing a degree in peace and conflict
 studies at the University of Toronto.
     Free The Children is the largest network of children helping children
 through education in the world. Over one million young people have been
 involved in their innovative youth-driven programs in more than 45
 countries. The Toronto-based charity has built 430 schools in 23 countries,
 provides education to 35,000 children every day and has helped 600,000
 families obtain access to medical care. Founded by international child
 rights activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children has an established
 track-record of success, with three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize
 and a partnership with the United Nations.
     Interviews with Craig Kielburger are available on request. Please
 contact Amy Schlein at 416 925-5894 ext 152 to schedule a conversation

SOURCE Free The Children