In facing the task of this week’s blog, I realized I want to converse with someone who has made a global impact and is making a notable, positive difference in the world. Top CEOs, inventors, millionaires, celebrities, or sports professionals were not going to cut it because I wanted to talk to a person who has experienced the world differently. Cue Malala Yousafzai. The 16 year old is the youngest person ever to win the Noble Peace Prize.
The Pakistani activist for women’s education certainly has a unique perspective. In October 2012 at the age of 14, Malala was shot in the head at point-blank range by the Taliban for advocating for girl’s education. At the time the Taliban had a strong hold over the Swat Valley, Malala’s home. The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outrage and outpouring of support for Yousafzai. She was flown out of the country to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. Despite continued violent threats against her life and family, she continues her activism and started The Malala Fund supporting girl’s secondary education and women’s rights. Statistics such as “every 3 seconds a girl becomes a child bride” cover her website.
Yousafzai’s advocacy has since grown into an international movement. Her autobiography I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is both eye opening, inspiring, and makes the reader question what is truly important in life. Her world tour and campaign for Women’s education and Human Rights has even left John Stewart speechless.
I am probably the only student who will choose to have dinner with someone younger than myself. However, she is a global leader in education, human rights, and women’s rights. She is incredibly well-read, intelligent, and understand the complex politics of the Middle East. I would ask her questions like: where do you find the courage to stand up for those who truly want to harm you? What is the most efficient means in social activism? How do you think global secondary education will be achieved? We would discuss girl’s and women’s right, education, and human rights, but also activism and how to make a tangible impact on communities.
I would want to take her out for lunch for Pakistani restaurant. In Middle Eastern culture, lunch is the main meal of the day in which the family comes together and entertaining happens. I would want to be surrounded by her culture to appreciate her background, lifestyle, and delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.