Zia Saleh

Top 40 Under 40 2016

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 24

Job Title: Co-Founder, Learning Beyond Borders

Why He’s Top 40: He’s thinking globally when it comes to creating opportunities for youth.

Aspirations: “I’d like to work in international development and design holistic strategies to have a positive impact on people.”

The hours involved in being a med student are exhausting at best. But combine those with an interest in international development and community involvement, and it’s a wonder that a person actually has any time to eat and sleep.

Somehow, Zia Saleh manages to juggle the pursuit of his profession with all those additional interests. As for what generates that drive, he credits an upbringing that would be a struggle to anyone in his shoes.

“I grew up in a single-parent family and a lot of the messages I got from society was that I was underprivileged, I would have more problems and that I was less likely to succeed,” says Saleh. “But I realized it not only taught me about independence and responsibility, but also the value of the helping hand and of service.”

When he was only 16, he co-founded Learning Beyond Borders, a Uganda-focused educational improvement and cultural connection institution. He also introduced sport programs to Edmonton’s inner-city schools and spent three summers working with international charity, Aga Khan Institutions. On top of that, he earned a Loran Scholarship in 2010 and received a Rhodes Scholarship earlier this year.

That’s only a partial list, but Saleh claims he’s just getting started.

“It’s been a fun ride,” says Saleh, hoping to work on Master’s degrees in global health and public policy. “I know there’s a lot of it left, so that’s why I keep going at it.”

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