United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai a U.N. Messenger of Peace on Monday to promote girls education, more than four years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012. During a designation ceremony, UN Secretary-General António Guterres selected and honoured Yousafzai as the organisation's Messenger of Peace. At the occasion, she once again appealed for equal education opportunities for girls.
The Taliban attacked her in 2012 in Pakistan's Swat valley for defying their edict banning girls' education and campaigning for the right to schooling.
Born on July 12, 1997 in Pakistan's Swat Valley, Yousafzai became an worldwide symbol of the fight for girls' education after being shot on October 9, 2012 for opposing Taliban restrictions on female education. She has also become a regular speaker at global events, has set up the Malala Fund to support girls' education projects in developing countries and continues her studies in Britain, where she received medical treatment after she was shot.
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"Men should not clip the wings of women, and let them fly and let them go forward", she said.
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She also became the youngest U.N. Messenger of Peace, joining a distinguished group including actors Michael Douglas and Leonardo Dicaprio, primatologist Jane Goodall and musicians Daniel Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma.
She stressed that "Muslims need to unite and stand really strongly against terrorists and say that "they are not us, we don't believe in anything that they are doing". "And, once you educate girls, you change the whole community, the whole society", Yousafzai said.
Speaking of her ordeal, Yousafzai told the crowd that "the extremists tried all their best to stop me, they tried to kill me and they didn't succeed". Your foundation has schools in Lebanon, in the Beka'a Valley. "This means that now this a new life, a second life, and it is for the objective of education". Many are forced to marry early or must work or care for younger siblings, denying them their right to education.
Mohammad Khan, a prominent human rights activist and lawyer based in Swat, said he was pleased that the global community has appreciated Yousafzai's efforts and the ordeal she has gone through for the sake of women's rights and education.