New UN peace messenger Malala will promote girls' education

She required multiple surgeries, but suffered no major brain damage and returned to school in Birmingham in March 2013.

The messenger of peace designation is the highest United Nations honor given to a civilian.

Malala talked about her most hard times and said her toughest struggle was between 2007 and 2009 when she was living in the Swat valley in her native Pakistan and was not sure whether to speak about the issue or remain silent.

In 2013 the activist had been awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg for her activism for girls' education, which almost cost her her life two years ago.

Yousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate in 2014 when she was recognised for her advocacy of the right of all children to education.

Following the official presentation, Guterres and Yousafzai conversed with youth representatives from around the world on the theme of girls' education.

Accepting the accolade, Yousafzai underscored the importance of education, especially the education of girls, for advancing communities and societies. "We don't believe in anything that they're doing", she said.

"What is different in my story is that my father did not stop me", she said.

UN News: Your father is here with you today and he was very instrumental in seeing that you went to school.

"I am still in shock that I actually met her", Patterson said.

Malala, who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for attending classes, is the youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace and the first one to be designated by Guterres since he assumed office in January.

She narrowly escaped death and, since her recovery, has continued campaigning for the rights of girls around the world to access education.

Malala Yousafzai, the girl who survived after being shot in the head by the Taliban, received a rare gift Wednesday when she became only the sixth person to be named an honorary citizen of Canada.

"These are the defining traits of the Pakistani people who by their commitment and courage are determined to defeat the dark forces of intolerance", she added. "Human Rights Watch's March 2017 report, "'Dreams Turned into Nightmares': "Attacks on Students, Teachers, and Schools in Pakistan", documents militant violence that has disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of children, particularly girls. They are our most powerful weapons.

Malala Yousafzai, 19, made history once again on Monday.

Mohammad Khan, a prominent human rights activist and lawyer based in Swat, said he was pleased that the worldwide community has appreciated Yousafzai's efforts and the ordeal she has gone through for the sake of women's rights and education.

"The sacrifice she has given for humanity, it has no precedent in [the] contemporary world", Khan told VOA's Deewa service.

Rona Ambrose, then a Conservative MP, invited Yousafzai to Toronto that day to mark the International Day of the Girl, an event now on the United Nations' annual calendar thanks to Ambrose's work as status of women minister in 2011.

  • Joey Payne