At the UN, Malala Yousafzai celebrates birthday and education for all


Pakistani education activist and violence survivor Malala Yousafzai will mark her 16th birthday on 12 July 2013 at United Nations headquarters by giving her first high-level public appearance and statement on the importance of education.

Malala meets Ban Ki-moon
Malala Yousafzai, the young education rights campaigner from Pakistan, during her meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters on 12 July 2013. (Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

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. Her birthday was declared as “Malala Day” and will be observed internationally for the first time this Friday.

This Friday, the President of the General Assembly and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education with the support of the non-profit organization A World at School are organizing the UN Youth Assembly, where more than 500 young leaders from around the world will convene to accelerate efforts to get all children, especially girls, in school by 2015. The event is in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI)—a five-year global initiative to mobilize efforts and action for education and rally a global movement to achieve quality, relevant and inclusive education for all by 2015. As a member of the Steering Committee that provides strategic direction to the initiative, UN Women has contributed to ensuring that gender equality and women’s rights dimensions of education are prioritized in all efforts.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director John Hendra will also attend. Malala Yousafzai will speak at 9:45 a.m. EST. The Assembly will be webcast live on UN Web TV: