Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize—becoming a co-recipient at just 17—and has shown remarkable bravery in the face of violence that saw Taliban assassins personally target her because of her dedication to educating women. She has since become a symbol of strength, dogged determination and a role model to millions—striking accomplishments for a 19-year-old.
After sustaining a gunshot wound to the head at the hands of a Taliban shooter in 2012 and miraculously recovering, Yousafzai never looked back. The best-selling author and Pakistani activist has become an outspoken advocate for the education rights of girls and women and today will become just the sixth person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. And she’s in good company—Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the 14th Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Aga Khan are among the others to receive the honour.
Yousafzai will be meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today to accept the honour and addressing the Canadian Parliament in what will surely prove to be an historic and empowering talk. While the House of Commons decided to bestow the honour to her in 2014, the ceremony was cancelled due to the Parliament Hill shooting and put on hold until now.
An historic moment
“Ms. Yousafzai’s courageous response to those who threatened her life, and her advocacy for girls’ education, has inspired many millions of people around the world,” said Trudeau in a statement. “Her story is one of determination and dignity, and Canada is proud to call her an honorary citizen of this great country.”
For her part, Yousafzai, who recently became a UN Messenger of Peace, highlighted what she thinks our nation is doing right: “The people of Canada are leading the world in their response to the refugee crisis. I am honoured by Parliament’s invitation and look forward to visiting this great nation of heroes.”
Despite that generous pat on the back, we are looking forward to her invaluable insight into what we can be doing even better.
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