Malala named youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace

by Edgar Hayes April 13, 2017, 1:02
Malala named youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday designated teenaged activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai as a U.N. Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls' education.

The 19-year-old was honoured for being a "symbol of education for all".

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She said fathers and brothers equally have a role in promoting girls' education.

Accepting the honor, Yousafzai said education, especially of girls, was vital for advancing communities and societies.

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Yousafzai was given the Canadian flag from atop the Peace Tower at the entrance of parliament, and a copy of her 2013 book I Am Malala was added to the parliamentary library.

"You are a true example to the world of what it means to stand up for humanity, and I'm hopeful you will inspire many more countries and many more leaders to follow your footsteps". She called herself a "proud Pakistani" and a "proud Muslim" and said she was obliged to raise her voice against the misrepresentation and misperception of her country and her faith.

"You have been going to the most hard places, where education has more problems in becoming a reality", said Guterres, who was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as he recalled her work in refugee camps and the two schools her foundation has set up in Lebanon's Beka'a Valley. She went on to attend the city's all-girls' Edgbaston High School, set up the Malala Fund and became an outspoken campaigner for the education of young girls.

For Yousafzai, that will be girls' education.

"You need to stand up. you need to believe in yourselves".

"Malala is both a symbol of the setbacks and the daunting barriers that girls can face", he said.

Yousafzai will arrive on Parliament Hill at 11:30 a.m. ET, where she'll be greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the House and Senate Speakers.

Threats to education in Pakistan were spotlighted again by the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014 that left 145 people dead, majority children.

Ms Yousafzai, who narrowly escaped death after being attacked on her way home from school in Pakistan, did not confirm which university had made the offer. On Oct. 9, 2012, Yousafzai, then 15, was attacked and shot in the head while on the school bus.

Other messengers of peace include actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who focused on climate change, and singer Stevie Wonder, who focused on people with disabilities.


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