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‘I stand with girls’: Malala Yousafzai, now an honorary Canadian, urges Ottawa to act

‘I stand with girls’: Malala Yousafzai, now an honorary Canadian, urges Ottawa to act


Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, left, is presented with an honorary Canadian citizenship by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 12, 2017. ADRIAN WYLD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Source: The Globe and Mail by Michelle Zilio

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is calling on the Canadian government to lead a global effort to prioritize education for girls and refugees.

In an address to Parliament Wednesday, Ms. Yousafzai asked Canada to make girls’ education a central theme of its G7 presidency in 2018, to use its influence to help fill the global education funding gap and to prioritize 12 years of schooling for refugees:

I stand with girls, as someone who knows how it feels to have your right of education taken away and your dreams threatened. I know where I stand. If you stand with me, I ask you to seize every opportunity for girls’ education over the next year.

In her address, she specifically asked Canada to host the upcoming meeting of the Global Partnership for Education (the only global fund solely dedicated to education in developing countries), to bring world leaders together and raise new funding for girls to go to school.

Ms. Yousafzai, 19, was in Ottawa on Wednesday to accept her honorary Canadian citizenship and address Parliament.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced Ms. Yousafzai in the House of Commons, calling her one of the “the newest and possibly bravest citizens of Canada.” He recalled how, in 2012, the world watched in awe after Ms. Yousafzai survived a Taliban assassination attempt as she was leaving school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The terror group targeted her for her campaign against its efforts to deny women education.

“As the world prayed while she recovered, we were reminded that a bullet is no match for an idea; that in the face of evil, what is right and what is good will always prevail,” Mr. Trudeau said.


Who is Malala Yousafzai?

Ms. Yousafzai, 19, became an education activist after she survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 as she was leaving school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The terror group targeted her for her campaign against its efforts to deny women education. She now lives in London, where she received medical treatment after she was shot, and is finishing secondary school. Earlier this week, she was appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace, making her the youngest person to ever hold the UN’s highest honour. She was also the youngest person to win the Nobel peace prize in 2014, at the age of 17.

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