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Shining a Spotlight on Dalal Al-Waheidi

by Marc Kielburger, Co-Founder of WE

As the Executive Director of WE Charity, an international non-profit, Dalal Al-Waheidi oversees all of the charity’s operations as both an executive and a mother of two — embodying a strong champion for women and representing them on an international scale. She leads global initiatives that have provided clean water to more than 1,000,000 people — to name just a single pillar of WE Charity’s work — and works closely with an incredible cohort of women, providing outstanding mentorship and guidance.
 
Dalal’s powerful story and incredible achievements provide an example for anyone looking to make a difference in this world. During her childhood, split between refugee status in Kuwait and Palestine, Dalal grew up in a war-torn environment — experiencing marginalization and deprivation, power outages and air strikes. She saw many of her friends being forced to marry, seeing their dreams rapidly diminish.
 
Holding onto the hope that education would be the key to her future, she became the First Palestinian ever accepted to Red Cross Nordic United World College and was able to then pursue her passion for international development at Trent University.
 
Upon joining WE as an intern after completing her studies, Dalal’s hard-work and leadership capabilities naturally led to her upwards progression into the organization’s most senior roles. One of her outstanding earlier projects was the design and implementation of WE Charity’s first girls’ education and empowerment program in the Middle East and North Africa region. This program provided young girls between the ages of 15 and 18 with skills in leadership, civil society engagement, and technological literacy to address issues pertaining to community development and gender gaps.
 
 

 
 
Beginning in 2011, Dalal served as WE’s Executive Director of WE Day, leading stadium-sized events in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. Through Dalal’s leadership and financial diversification model that brings together corporate sponsors, government bodies and family foundations, the number of WE Days has nearly tripled, with annual attendance growing exponentially.
 
In 2017, Dalal and her team tailored the existing WE Day model around the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, creating the first WE Day UN. She managed partnerships with UN Women, the UN Global Compact and UN AIDS to highlight the role of UN agencies addressing global issues.
 
Thanks to Dalal’s six years of leadership in this role, WE Day cultivated its own identity as an independent arm of the organization, and continually increased its engagement from both youth and stakeholders. The full result of this, in addition to changing the perception of service for millions of young people, is that participating schools have raised over $119 million for 22,000 local and global organizations, also volunteering 94.4 million hours.
 
In 2019, Dalal Al-Waheidi brought her life-changing work to new heights by developing WE Charity’s vital social entrepreneurship programming. This includes securing an early $3 million in federal funding for programming that has the potential to create 5,000 new social entrepreneurs over the next 15 years, as well as 15,000 new jobs in the hard-to-hire segment of Canadian young-people. This funding represents the very beginning of Dalal’s larger 25th anniversary drive, which is projected to raise millions more for this programming.
 
Dalal has gone far beyond her mandate by spearheading every step of this initiative, including the creation of WE Social Entrepreneurs, which will support thousands of young leaders under the age of 35 — prioritizing women-led enterprises, new Canadians and Indigenous peoples — as they launch and scale their social enterprises, utilizing business solutions to overcome the world’s greatest challenges.
 
Dalal’s vision for this program comes from a deep-rooted passion for engaging young people and encouraging them to make a lasting and meaningful difference through business and social good. She has a strong ambition to break down barriers surrounding the larger conversation on social enterprise — a topic still quite new to the Canadian non-profit model and lacking in the understanding, financing, and mentorship needed for the sector to flourish. By providing these necessary tools, Dalal aims to develop a new generation of social entrepreneurs.
 

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