I Am Malala

Continuing activism

Traditions are not sent from heaven, they are not sent from God. It is we who make cultures and we have the right to change it and we should change it.

“ ” Yousafzai at the Girl Summit in London[98]

Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.

“ ” Yousafzai expressing her concerns to Barack Obama that drone attacks are fueling terrorism[99]

Yousafzai spoke before the United Nations in July 2013, and met Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace.[100] In September she spoke at Harvard University,[100] and in October she met with U.S. President Barack Obama and his family; during that meeting, she confronted him on his use of drone strikes in Pakistan.[99] In December she addressed the Oxford Union.[101] In July 2014 Yousafzai spoke at the Girl Summit in London, advocating for rights for girls.[102] In October 2014, after receiving the World Children's Prize for the rights of the child in Mariefred, Sweden, she announced donating $50,000 through the UNRWA, to help rebuild 65 schools in Gaza.[103]

Representation

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arranged for Yousafzai's appearance before the United Nations in July 2013.[87] Brown also requested that McKinsey consultant Shiza Shahid, a friend of the Yousafzai family, chair Malala's charity fund, which had gained the support of Angelina Jolie.[87] Google's vice president Megan Smith also sits on the fund's board.[104]

In November 2012 the consulting firm Edelman began work for Yousafzai on a pro bono basis, which according to the firm "involves providing a press office function for Malala."[87][104] The office employs five people, and is headed by speechwriter Jamie Lundie.[104] McKinsey also continues to provide assistance to Yousafzai.[104]

Malala Day

On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai's 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event "Malala Day".[105] It was her first public speech since the attack,[106] leading the first ever Youth Takeover of the UN, with an audience of over 500 young education advocates from around the world.[107]

The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born ... I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.[106]

Yousafzai received several standing ovations. Ban Ki-moon, who also spoke at the session, described her as "our hero".[105] Yousafzai also presented the chamber with "The Education We Want",[108] a Youth Resolution of education demands written by Youth for Youth, in a process co-ordinated by the UN Global Education First Youth Advocacy Group,[109] telling her audience:

Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.[110]

The Pakistani government did not comment on Yousafzai's UN appearance, amid a backlash against her in Pakistan's press and social media.[111][112]

Nobel Peace Prize

On 10 October 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. At age 17, Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.[14][15][113] Yousafzai shared the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, a children's rights activist from India.[114] She is the second Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize, Abdus Salam being a 1979 Physics laureate,[115] and the only Pakistani winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

After she won the Nobel Peace Prize, there was praise but also some disapproval of the decision to award it to her.[116][117] A Norwegian jurist, Fredrik Heffermehl, commented on the winning of Malala's Nobel Prize: "This is not for fine people who have done nice things and are glad to receive it. All of that is irrelevant. What Nobel wanted was a prize that promoted global disarmament."[118]

A young Mexican man interrupted Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in protest for the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping in Mexico, but was quickly taken away by security personnel. Yousafzai later sympathised, and acknowledged that problems are faced by young people all over the world, saying "there are problems in Mexico, there are problems even in America, even here in Norway, and it is really important that children raise their voices".[119]

School for Syrian refugee girls

On 12 July 2015, her 18th birthday, Yousafzai opened a school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, near the Syrian border, for Syrian refugees. The school, funded by the not-for-profit Malala Fund, offers education and training to girls aged 14 to 18 years. Yousafsai called on world leaders to invest in "books, not bullets."[120][121]


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