Inspiring and Empowering leaders to make the world a better place
Avi Benlolo has dedicated his life to improving the world by helping organizations and leaders reach their maximum potential. A consummate strategist, Mr. Benlolo brings 27 years of experience in marketing and communications, philanthropy, government relations, media and exclusive event production. His thoughts and opinions are sought after and have been featured in the Washington Post; the National Post, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and on radio and television including CBC, CTV and Global News.
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. Through partnerships with government, law enforcement, educators, donors and the public at large, he is responsible for creating widely recognized educational programs like Freedom Day, Speakers Idol, Compassion to Action, Spirit of Hope and the award winning Tour for Humanity.
For his leadership, Mr. Benlolo has been recognized widely having been awarded the Order of Vaughan by the second largest city in Canada; the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Award of Excellence for his creation of the Tour for Humanity, a mobile anti-discrimination training centre which has now reached 250,000 students.
For his global achievements, 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.
At a private dedication 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.
Mr. Benlolo served as 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 has recently raised $5.5 million in one evening.
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 also a prominent Canadian human rights activist dedicated to promoting tolerance, freedom, democracy and human rights. 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.
His academic focus includes in-depth research in universal genocide, Holocaust, antisemitism and racism. 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.
An avid athlete and endurance runner, Mr. Benlolo is passionate about teamwork, collaboration and creating successful projects that make the world a better place.