Natalie Portman

Appears as a contributor in the bestseller 'Me to WE'
Natalie Portman
Her given name was Neta-Lee Hershlag, a Hebrew name
Natalie graduated from Harvard University in 2003
One of Natalie's great-grandmothers worked as a spy for the British in World War 2

Natalie Portman’s Contribution from 'Me to WE'

In the early 2000s, I had the privilege of visiting East Africa and South America where I understood for the first time that I was in the minority of humans on Earth who could take food, shelter, education, health care, and safety for granted. When the magnitude of this hope gap, opportunity gap, and wealth gap sunk in, I became dedicated to learning about the importance of microfinance and its impact on the culture and livelihoods of entire villages. Essentially, microfinance allows those who typically wouldn't qualify for credit to receive a small loan, enabling them to make life-changing investments and become self-sufficient. The work particularly impacts women in developing nations. I was humbled by the opportunity offered by great organizations serving the world's most undeserved population, and tried to help bring light to their impact by talking about what microfinance is and how it can change lives and empower women.

When I was introduced to the WE movement over a decade ago, I was grateful that there was a place to inspire young people in the developed world to recognize their privilege and, with it, the responsibility to be active in their communities and in other communities, to share the luck they have with others, and to improve the world. I learned that simply raising your voice can often be the catalyst to sparking real and meaningful change.

At WE Day, I was lucky enough to talk to thousands of young change-makers at stadium-sized events about some of the things I care about most. I spoke about being vegan and how it is a practice of empathy and environmental respect. I was able to discuss how my passion for women's and girls' rights led to my involvement with the Time's Up movement. And I was able to share my excitement for supporting education and opportunity-based causes for women through WE's work in Kenya.

Over several years, I've been involved with WE's initiatives for girls’ education, joining the Power of a Girl campaign as an ambassador and encouraging young people in North America and the UK to raise funds for girls' education in Kenya's Maasai Mara. When the Kisaruni All-Girls Secondary School opened, I was eager to visit the school and see the impact of WE's work in the region firsthand.

Since then, I've had the pleasure of visiting WE's partner communities in Kenya on a few occasions. On my most recent visit, I shared this life-changing experience with my son. One of our most memorable moments was meeting with the girls attending Kisaruni and others at WE College, including one girl named Christine. These girls were brilliant, hardworking, and resilient. Their experiences prove that investing in women and girls can create a powerful ripple effect that transforms entire communities.

Christine explained the inequalities she faced as a girl pursuing opportunities beyond the household. She told us of her goals and ambitions, and shared how education has played a huge role in changing the trajectory of her future. It was truly inspiring to hear her stories and others, and it was even more special to see it through my son's eyes. It was remarkable for him to see the gratitude children in other places had for going to school, and to understand what a privilege and opportunity it is to have good and accessible education. As my own children grow, I find myself more motivated than ever to be part of positive change for the next generation.

What Craig and Marc have shared in these pages is a personal reflection of their growth and development in becoming responsible global citizens. In the twenty-five years since founding their movement, what started out as one twelve-year-old boy challenging the social inequalities of his time has grown into an entire generation of young people striving to work together, making a global impact that encourages kindness and emphasizes the importance of community.

The themes, lessons, and stories found within this book serve as a personal reminder of what it means to be a leader, a friend, and a change-maker at home and around the world. Me to We has taught me that we all have the power to make a difference by starting small, practicing empathy throughout our day, and finding the courage within ourselves to stand up for what we believe in.

Me to WE
Me to We is a New York Times bestseller that provides a tangible guide to doing good. The book puts forward an approach to life that leads us to recognize what is truly valuable when making decisions, defining our goals and contemplating the legacy we want to leave. It includes contributions by individuals who have followed the Me to We philosophy, including Oprah Winfrey, Queen Noor and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Above all, it creates new ways of measuring happiness, meaning and success in our lives and makes sure these elusive goals are attainable at last.
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