Daily Video

July 15, 2013

Malala Champions Universal Education

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani youth advocate for girls’ education who gained worldwide fame last year after she was shot by the Taliban, recently celebrated her 16th birthday by delivering a speech to the United Nations (U.N.) promoting universal mandatory education around the world.

She invoked influential global leaders from all backgrounds including Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa.

In October 2012, Taliban militants attacked her school bus, saying they targeted her for promoting girls’ rights. She is now a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize

She delivered her speech to 1,000 youth leaders from more than 100 countries, as well as the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Malala said she didn’t want “personal revenge against the Taliban” but instead wanted to speak for “the right of education for every child.”

She appealed to the power of education, referencing the saying, “The pen is mightier than sword.”

“The extremists are afraid of books and pens,” she declared. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them…That is why they are blasting schools every day. Because they were and they are afraid of change, afraid of the equality that we will bring into our society.”

She encouraged her “dear brothers and sisters” not to falter.

“So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons,” said Malala.

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world…Education is the only solution. Education First.”

The United Nations designated Friday, July 12, “Malala Day,” but the 16-year-old said it was a day for “every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”


Warm-up questions

1. Who is Malala Yousafsai?

2. Where is she from?

3. Who is Ban Ki Moon?

4. What is the Nobel Peace Prize?

Discussion questions

1. Name the world leaders Malala Yousafsai invoked in her speech. Who are they? Why mention them? Please explain.

2. Why do you think Malala Yousafsai’s speech received so much global attention? Please explain.

3. Why do you think Malala believes in education so strongly? Please explain.

4. How would you feel if a terrorist group shot you for promoting something you believe in? Do you think you would continue your promotion? Why or why not?


– Compiled by Elizabeth Jones for NewsHour Extra

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