What a young Canadian heard when Malala spoke

Nation – Wednesday, 17 July 2013 (originally published 16 Jul)

Malala at UN
Image: The Nation

JAXSON KHAN  –  On July 12, 2013, youth took over the United Nations. Hundreds came to hear Malala Yousafzai – the Pakistani girl who was shot on a school bus last year by the Taliban for standing up for her and other girls’ right to receive an education. After recovering, she is now speaking louder than ever.

Now known as Malala Day, the Special UN Youth Assembly was full of energy and the smell of teenage sweat as I sat alongside other young people from over 80 countries on the first floor of a room normally occupied by diplomats, ambassadors and global leaders. Our goal was to support Malala in delivering a resolution to the UN Secretary-General, and subsequently, the UN Security Council, to demand compulsory education for the 57 million children out of school.

Titled The Education We Want, this was an entirely youth-authored resolution, and a monumental declaration. The feeling in that chamber was exhilarating, and the other youth delegates and I knew we were part of something important, something historic and something that had the potential to change the future for our generation and generations to come . . .

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