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At UN, Malala Yousafzai rallies youth to stand up for universal education
an article by United Nations News Centre

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for attending classes, today [12 July] addressed hundreds of young people at the United Nations, urging them to use education as a weapon against extremism.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with Malala Yousafzai, the young education rights campaigner from Pakistan. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

click on photo to enlarge

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world,” Ms. Yousafzai said, in an impassioned address to the UN Youth Assembly.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has dubbed today – Ms. Yousafzai’s 16th birthday – ‘Malala Day’ in honour of her heroic stand to ensure education for all. The meeting, which featured nearly 1,000 youth leaders, was addressed by former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his capacity as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, and Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly.Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.

Ms. Yousafzai told the gathering that the Taliban’s attack nine months ago changed nothing in her life, except that “weakness, fear and hopelessness died.”

“The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens,” she said. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.”

Globally, the number of children out of school has fallen from 60 million in 2008 to 57 million in 2011. However, 28 million children out of school live in the world’s conflict zones, and more than half of those are women and girls.

Mr. Ban welcomed Ms. Yousafzai, praising her courage and determination.

“Malala chose to mark her 16th birthday with the world,” he said, noting that the strong support she has received from millions of people all over the world is a clear sign saying: “Malala you are not alone.”

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article or here for a French version)

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Letter from Mohatma Gandhi to Maria Montessori.

To Madame Montessori

Even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institution, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

Mohatma Gandhi, Young India, 19-11-''31


This report was posted on July 12, 2013.