Malala Yousafzai becomes youngest UN Messenger of Peace
Birmingham-based Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace, after being awarded the accolade yesterday.
The 19-year-old, who is sitting her A-levels and has also received an offer from a top UK university, has accepted the role with a special focus on girls’ education.
Accepting the award in New York, Yousafzai told the audience that change, “starts with us and it should start now”.
“If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now (and) not wait for anyone else.”
In 2012, Malala was nearly killed by the Taliban in Pakistan for campaigning for girls’ rights to education. Barely surviving being shot in the face, she was brought to the UK and treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
After successfully recovering from the murder attempt, Malala and her family made the city their home. 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. Having achieved top grades during her GCSEs, she co-authored international bestseller I Am Malala,
United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres described her as a “symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world – education for all”.
Currently studying her A-levels, Ms Yousafzai has reportedly received an offer to study politics, philosophy and economics at a major UK university, on condition of achieving three As.
In 2014, she was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi, for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. In 2015, a documentary titled He Named Me Malala by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim was released internationally.
UN Messengers of Peace are chosen from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports or other fields of public life. Previous ‘Messengers’ have included Muhammad Ali, George Clooney, Michael Douglas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stevie Wonder and Charlize Theron.