Defending Our Future. Protecting Our Past.
Defending Our Future. Protecting Our Past.
Short Bio: Avi Abraham Benlolo is described as Canada's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He is the Founding Chairman and CEO of The Abraham Global Peace Initiative (AGPI), a Canadian NGO which promotes Human Rights. In recognition of this effort, he has received numerous awards including an honorary doctorate from University of Haifa; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights. He is a featured media personality, has a weekly column in the National Post and a documentary film producer.
(Dr.) Avi Abraham Benlolo is a prominent Canadian human rights activist dedicated to promoting tolerance, freedom, democracy and human rights. He is the Founding Chairman & CEO of Canada's leading international human rights NGO, The Abraham Global Peace Initiative. His high-powered board includes a number of current and former members of parliament; senators, many leaders in business, medicine, law, policing, military and human rights - hailing from all backgrounds and religions.
He regularly publishes commentary in leading Canadian newspapers and is widely interviewed by media (print, television, radio) seeking his thoughtful perspective on a wide range of issues, including analysis of world events, foreign and national policy, human rights and social justice. He is among the top Canadian speakers and writers about empowerment for making our world a better place for everyone.
He is widely recognized as the nation's leading expert in Holocaust studies, human rights and advocacy against Antisemitism and discrimination. His academic focus includes in-depth research on the Holocaust, antisemitism and racism. He earned an Honours BA and M.A. and is partly through his Ph.D. with an academic focus in Holocaust and genocide studies.
Through his work on genocide studies he documented survivor testimony from multiple genocide events around the world. In 2012, the Government of Canada appointed him to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education. He lectures regularly to boards of education, corporations, police, political leaders, philanthropists – and has been invited to testify multiple times on various interparliamentary committees.
Recently, the Senate and President of the University of Haifa conferred on Mr. Benlolo its highest accolade, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) for "promoting tolerance and democracy, and outstanding accomplishments in support of Holocaust education and combating antisemitism". The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security was established at the university in his honour.
Mr. Benlolo was also awarded the Order of Vaughan from the City of Vaughan for his humanitarian effort and he was proud to receive the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Award of Excellence for the Tour for Humanity, a a mobile education center and leadership empowerment program which he founded, and has now reached 250,000 students and over 1,000 schools. His program creations are now being replicated widely in several cities across North America.
Currently, he serves on the City of Vaughan's Diversity Task Force and having also been appointed to globally recognized Imam Global Council's Interfaith network. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Avi Benlolo on the honourary delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem on Canada's "Air Force One" to mark Canada's commitment to Israel.
At a private ceremony at the residence, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario awarded Mr. Benlolo with the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada and his community. He was voted one of top 50 most influential graduates (ever) of his high school at its 50th anniversary reunion. Recently, the Government of Canada awarded him the Canada 150 pin for his contribution in human rights, and more recently, he has been recognized for his effort to assist front-line workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Jewish News selected Mr. Benlolo among "The Jewish community's movers and shakers – Influencers …who make the Jewish community tick". Among many features, Mr. Benlolo has been featured for his contributions by Lifestyles Magazine, We Are Associated magazine, J-Space, Celebrate Vaughan and other publications. In 2016 he participated in a Roundtable on Countering Racism at the Lieutenant Governor's Suite, Queens Park, Toronto.
Mr. Benlolo is the founding President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies from 2000-2020 – an organization he built from the ground up. He has raised over $100 million over the years and is known for creating the Spirit of Hope Benefit, Toronto’s largest annual dinner that brings together nearly 3,000 people and recently raised $5.5 million. Through his global recognition, Mr. Benlolo has attracted world leaders to the evening. Some of the foremost include, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Shimon Peres; and Prime Ministers Stephen Harper, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Ehud Barak, Brian Mulroney and John Howard. Other luminaries include Ambassador Nikki Haley, Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Elie Wiesel and Salman Rushdie.
Mr. Benlolo is known to be a visionary, a creator and a maverick in building consensus, fostering national dialogue and developing a large tent of people to inspire and empower them to change the world. He is responsible for creating widely recognized educational programs like Freedom Day – a one day event that brings together thousands of students to celebrate freedom and democracy. This program has already brought together more than 50,000 students. He also created an annual educational student program called Speakers Idol – in which hundreds of students have competed in a wide range of speeches about making the world a better place.
Mr. Benlolo is also widely respected for his Holocaust education work across the country. Over the last decade, he has taken some 300 police chiefs, deputies, educators and politicians to Poland and Germany to visit the death camps and learn about the Holocaust on Compassion to Action. Through this incredible experience, he has built a coast to coast network of professionals who are well versed in Holocaust studies and understand the consequence of antisemitism and racism.
He has projected his high level of experience working with parliament, the Senate and provincial and city legislative bodies. He has been called upon by various parliamentary committees for testimony and expertise; has worked closely with political leaders on legislative pieces and has carefully monitored and advised in this field.
Over the years, he has been called upon by government to testify on hate on the internet; rising threat of terrorism and increasing Antisemitism. In both Toronto and Vaughan, he was responsible for motivating the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
A unique operator that views the world around him as his canvass, Mr. Benlolo has developed unique marketing skills in social media and content and video production that have allowed him to reach millions of people. No stranger to parliament or politicians, his expertise in government relations and advocacy has helped move the needle on many social issues he has promoted. He has honed in on event execution, on video and film production, on press releases and media and most critically, on building platforms to successfully execute and deliver successful programs.
A disciplined athlete, Mr. Benlolo believes that excellence can be achieved through strength, endurance, conviction and unending passion for one’s core beliefs.
Contact: Avi Abraham Benlolo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-646-2196