Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai Speak on Women’s Education

Malala Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, recently gave impassioned remarks on the importance of women’s right to education on the occasion of being awarded the 2013 Reflections of Hope Award.

“Today I have been given the Reflections of Hope Award, and it’s an honor for me. It’s not only an award. It’s hope. It’s more courage. It’s more strength,” said Malala Yousafzai in her first globally telecast remarks since returning to school in March. “I hope that we all will work together, and we all will fight for the rights of girls. And the day will come when all the girls will go to school.” Watch Malala’s remarks below:

“I’m proud that in this world of men, I’m one of the few fathers who is known for his daughter,” said Ziauddin Yousafzai in his first trip to the United States since the October 2012 attack on Malala. “I dedicate this prestigious award to all fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands who accept and respect their daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives as individuals equal to them.” Watch an excerpt from Ziauddin’s keynote below:

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum honored the Yousafzais, represented in-person by Ziauddin, at a reception less than a month after the 18th anniversary of the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Joined by family members, survivors, and rescue workers affected that day—as well as viewers who tuned in via an international livestream—Ziauddin discussed the daily challenges of life in Pakistan under the oppression of the Taliban that led to the attempted assassination of his daughter.

“Those around the world stand in support of Malala’s fight for the right to education, with many young girls showing solidarity by carrying signs that read, ‘I am Malala.'”

“Nobody in Pakistan raised any banner or any poster, ‘I am Taliban.’ The people of Pakistan reached the verdict that we are not from the Taliban. We have disowned them,” Ziauddin said. “We are [instead] standing with this small child for peace, for education…the Taliban is more afraid of books than bombs, believe me.”

Known for his courageous work to promote accessible education for young girls in Pakistan, Ziauddin still directs an all-girls school created with the goal to foster a new generation of female leadership where Malala was a student. At the age of 11, she first came to public attention by writing a blog for the BBC exposing the injustice of the Taliban—and demanding that girls should be able to attend school. Death threats against her were published in newspapers, posted to her Facebook page, and slipped under her door.

In October 2012, the Taliban attempted to assassinate Malala on the school bus as she rode home from classes. Despite gunshot wounds in her head and neck, she survived. Early in her recovery, she asked for her school books so she could begin studying for exams in order that she not fall behind in her coursework. She returned to school on March 19 this year.

“It is remarkable that Malala and Ziauddin stood in the face of terror and were able to bring hope in the midst of political violence all around them,” said Kari Watkins, executive director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “They demonstrate that good triumphs over evil, just like we saw here 18 years ago. Through education, we continue to advocate for the prevention of violence—from Oklahoma City to Boston to New York to Pakistan—and throughout the world.”

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