Malala Day in New York

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Two BDA students visited the United Nations Headquarters in New York to watch Malala Yousafzai’s inspirational speech promoting worldwide education last week. 

‘Malala Day’ brought together youth representatives from around the world in support of the UN's Global Initiative on Education, which aims to see all children in school by 2015.

Malala, who was shot by the Taliban on a school bus in Pakistan for campaigning for girls’ rights last year, was celebrating her sixteenth birthday.

BDA sixth form student, Zwan Mahmod, said: “Malala Day was so extraordinary because it showed the global commitment to universal education and at the same time it was a tribute to the bravery of Malala herself.”

The students, who spent four days exploring the famous city, were extremely proud to be a part of the proceedings.

Aminah Solomon said: “To be a part of this fantastic initiative has meant that I have a greater awareness of the global commitment to universal education.”

Introduced by Gordon Brown, the UN’s special envoy for education, Malala received a standing ovation. The courageous teenager, considered a leading contender for the Nobel Peace Prize, called on politicians worldwide to ensure that every child has the right to go to school.

She said: “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Speaking publically for the first time since the shooting last October, Malala said that she was focussing on women’s rights and girls’education because they are suffering the most.

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

In addition to attending Malala’s speech, the students participated in breakout sessions focussing on grassroots campaigning and global citizenship.

They also visited the youth fair where they learnt about the fantastic work of various organisations dedicated to improving the standards of education internationally.

While not at the UN, the pair embarked on a sightseeing expedition, visiting a range of the Big Apple’s cultural hotspots, including the Empire State Building, Central Park, Wall Street, Grand Central Station, and many more.

The trip was an unforgettable experience for all concerned.