Malala Yousafzai Speaks Out Against Extremists, Celebrates Her 16th Birthday with the UN

In October 2012, a number of Pakistani students were attacked by the Taliban for attempting to attend classes. Malala Yousafzai, a famous feminist blogger and one of the students on her way to learn that day, was shot on the left side of her forehead. Last week, Yousafzai spent her 16th birthday at the United Nations, where she spoke to and urged hundreds of young adults and youth leaders to get smart — and use knowledge as power against extremists. 

Yousafzai recounted the incident with courage and confidence, holding that her attackers would never prevent her seeking knowledge.

The UN also introduced a new policy paper that day, which focuses on global education. The paper states that “the number of children out of school has fallen from 60 million in 2008 to 57 million in 2011. However, 28 million children out of school live in the world’s conflict zones, and more than half of those are women and girls.” Through its Global Education First Initiative, the UN hopes to one day be able to put every child in school, improve the quality of learning and foster global citizenship through education.

In honor of her heroism and continued activism in womens’ rights and education, July 12th (the day of her speech) was ceremoniously dubbed “Malala Day” at the UN.

Featured image via UN News Centre