United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has selected Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai to be a UN messenger of peace, the highest honor bestowed by the UN chief on a global citizen.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced that 19-year-old education advocate Malala will focus world’s attention towards the need of girls to go to school. She will address to bring concerned authorities’ attention towards the girls’ education. Malala will be officially designated at a ceremony on Monday. She will hold a conversation with United Nations Secretary-General and youth representatives from all over the world on girls’ education.
Malala Yousafzai was born on 12 July 1997 in Mingora, a town in the Swat District, Pakistan. Malala pursued her father (Ziauddin)’s passion for education and learning. In 2009, Taliban overtook Swat and terrorism was intensified in the region. At that time Malala used to write a blog for BBC Urdu under a pseudonym. She used to share her fears and agitation regarding the situation and the increased military activity in Swat. Conditions continue to get worse, television were banned, women were prevented from going outside – even for shopping and schools were closed.
Malala was featured in a documentary made for The New York Times and at the very same time, she was revealed as the author of the BBC blog. She and her father continued to raise their voice for education and women rights.
On 9 October 2012, Malala and her friends were shot with bullets. She was transferred to Birmingham for treatment along with her family. After the attack, a right to education petition was signed and ratified by the National Assembly of Pakistan. In this way, Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill was drafted and passed.
A Global Advocate for Girls’ Education
Malala became a global advocate for the millions of girls who are deprived of formal education due to various social, political, economic and legal constraints. In 2013, Malala along with her father co-founded Malala Fund. The aim of establishing this fund was to bring awareness and motivate people towards the importance of girls’ education.
Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate on 10 December 2014 with Indian children’s rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Leading from the front, Malala contributed her entire prize money of more than $500,000 to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
“Even in the face of grave danger, Malala Yousafzai has shown an unwavering commitment to the rights of women, girls, and all people,” Guterres said.
He added that “Her courageous activism for girls’ education has already energized so many people around the world. Now as our youngest-ever U.N. Messenger of Peace, Malala can do even more to help create a more just and peaceful world.”
The Nobel Peace Prize
It is awarded to 130 Nobel Laureates since 1901. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five persons who are chosen by the Norwegian Storting (Parliament of Norway).
16 women are awarded The Nobel Peace Prize also including Mother Teresa and Jane Addams.