Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban for speaking out against Pakistani militants and promoting education for girls was set to mark her 16th birthday with an address at the United Nations on Friday.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called Malala Yousafzai “a symbol of hope, a daughter of the United Nations” and Friday has been declared “Malala Day.”
The U.N. said in a statement that she would speak about “the importance of education” at what it said was her first “high-level” public appearance.
“Malala became a public figure when she was shot by the Taliban while travelling to school last year in Pakistan — targeted because of her committed campaigning for the right of all girls to an education,” the U.N. said.
“Flown to the United Kingdom to recover, she is now back at school and continues to advocate for every child’s right to education.”
Malala will address more than 500 “young leaders” from around the world during a Youth Assembly being held “to accelerate the goal of getting all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015,” the statement said.
Aged 12 to 25, they represent more than 85 countries and 100 different organizations.
In April, Malala told Ban during a Skype conversation that “when we work together we can achieve our goal and our goal is simple: peace and happiness in this world,” according to a statement by the U.N.
“The way to see peace is through education. It is an honor for me to be associated with the U.N. I want to tell the world how important education is,” she said.
She added she wanted to be a leader and “to serve this whole world.”
“The U.N. will always be with you and the many people like you,” Ban told her.
Malala was shot in the head and neck and two other girls were also wounded in an attack in October 2012 shortly after she left her school in Mingora, Swat, Pakistan. The Taliban later claimed responsibility.
In May, actress Angelina Jolie, a special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, told the Women in the World summit in New York that the Taliban’s attempt to kill Malala had backfired.
“Here’s what they accomplished … They shot her point blank range in the head — and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
News Source: nbcnews.com