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"Who Is Malala?"

In her new memoir, Malala Yousafzai remembers the day leading up to the moment Taliban gunman ambushed her schoolbus and shot her for her activism.

In the morning my parents came to my room as usual and woke me up. I don’t remember a single school day on which I woke up early by myself. My mother made our usual breakfast of sugary tea, chapatis and fried egg. We all had breakfast together—me, my mother, my father, Khushal and Atal. It was a big day for my mother, as she was going to start lessons that afternoon to learn to read and write with Miss Ulfat, my old teacher from kindergarten.

My father started teasing Atal, who was eight by then and cheekier than ever. “Look, Atal, when Malala is prime minister, you will be her secretary,” he said.

Atal got very cross. “No, no, no!” he said. “I’m no less than Malala. I will be prime minister and she will be my secretary.” All the banter meant I ended up being so late I only had time to eat half my egg and no time to clear up. The Pakistan Studies paper went better than I thought it would. There were questions about how Jinnah had created our country as the first Muslim homeland and also about the national tragedy of how Bangladesh came into being. It was strange to think that Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan despite being a thousand miles away. I answered all the questions and was confident I’d done well. I was happy when the exam was over, chatting and gossiping with my friends as we waited for Sher Mohammad Baba, a school assistant, to call for us when the bus arrived.

The bus did two trips every day, and that day we took the second one. We liked staying on at school and Moniba said, “As we’re tired after the exam, let’s stay and chat before going home.” I was relieved that the Pakistan Studies exam had gone well, so I agreed. I had no worries that day. I was hungry, but because we were fifteen we could no longer go outside to the street, so I got one of the small girls to buy me a corn cob. I ate a little bit of it then gave it to another girl to finish.

YOU GO, GIRL

Malala Wins EU Human-Rights Prize

Malala Wins EU Human-Rights Prize Jessica Rinaldi/AP

Beat Edward Snowden.

European lawmakers announced Thursday that they’ve given Europe’s top human-rights prize to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was catapulted to global fame after surviving a Taliban assassination attempt last year. The Sakharov Prize comes with $65,000 and was previously awarded to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi. Malala beats out American whistleblower Edward Snowden and a group of imprisoned Belarussian dissidents for the honor. Malala is also in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced Friday.

Read it at Associated Press

DEFIANT

Malala: We Must Talk to Taliban

Malala: We Must Talk to Taliban Jessica Rinaldi/AP

Also says “the job of America” to secure peace.

Malala Yousafzai will not let anyone silence her. The Pakistani schoolgirl, 16, who was shot in the head by the Taliban almost exactly one year ago spoke to the BBC for her first in-depth interview since the attack, calling for increased dialogue with the Taliban—and talking about her future. “The best way to solve problems and to fight against war is through dialogue,” Yousafzai said. “That’s not an issue for me, that’s the job of the government ... And that’s also America’s job.” Yousafzai said she hopes to be a politician, and she wants to “change the future of my country.” Yousafzai now lives in Birmingham, after the Taliban targeted her.

Read it at BBC News

Ben Affleck and The Roots kicked off a star-studded awards ceremony Wednesday night, which featured plenty of jokes about a possible 2016 Hillary Clinton run.

The recipients of the Clinton Global Initiative Global Citizen Awards are always top-tier, but this year brought an especially star-studded group to the stage, including five current and former leading politicians, one queen, and one Pakistani girl who survived a bullet. In a typical Clintonian mix of Hollywood and Washington, public and private leadership, the gala was packed with big names like Sean Penn and former Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Malala Yousafzai

Queen of Jordan, Rania Al Abdullah (left), awards The Leadership in Civil Society to Malala Yousafzai, at the Clinton Global Citizen Award ceremony on September 25, 2013 in New York City. (Ramin Talaie/Getty)

Ben Affleck kicked off the festivities, calling himself as Bruce Wayne and saying he was honored to share the room with his fellow billionaires, before introducing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who offered herself up for a role in Argo II.

The darling of the evening (make that week, appeared on stage soon after, introduced by Jordan’s Queen Rania as “a giant among us all.” Malala Yousafzai accepted the first Global Citizen Award to what must be the longest standing ovation that ballroom has ever seen.

Inspiring

Malala Takes The Stage

At Mashable's Social Good Summit, which also hosted the likes of Al Gore and Melinda Gates.

She was following acts like Al Gore and Melinda Gates, but her predecessors were probably more likely to be intimidated by the reputation of 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai than vice versa. Ten months since a bullet launched a teenage activist from Pakistan’s Swat Valley into the global conscious, the girl almost killed by a Taliban gunman has spoken at the United Nations, is celebrated globally with a day of her own, recently launched an international fund for children’s education, and is about to publish a memoir.

On Monday, fresh off her first-ever Twitter chat, a serene, scarved Yousafzai took the stage with her father, Ziauddin, and long-time supporter Shiza Shahid, at the Social Good Summit, a three-day conference hosted by Mashable in New York City.

“When I see this support and the love of people, I forget about the incident,” she told moderator Elizabeth Gore, the United Nations Foundation’s resident entrepreneur. “When I look at smiles, support, and love I think I am the luckiest, I am the most lucky girl. You all stood up for me.”

It was a fitting setting and audience for the day Malala launched her multi-platform campaign, opening Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with a new website, to promote the Malala Fund, intent on harnessing the thousands who proclaimed “I am Malala” to advocate for educating every child.

#MALALACHAT

Malala Yousafzai To Host Twitter Chat

Malala Yousafzai To Host Twitter Chat Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

About empowering girls through education.

Malala Yousafzai, the young education and women's rights activist who was shot by the Taliban, will host her first Twitter chat on Monday. She will answer questions about using education to empower girls and her new organization, the Malala Fund, which seeks to help girls gain access to school. The chat comes just a couple of weeks before Yousafzai is set to release her first book, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban on Oct. 8. Earlier this month, Yousafzai received Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award in Dublin, Ireland.

 

 

Read it at The Malala Fund

In the Swat tribal region, where Malala Yousafzai was targeted for speaking out about a girl’s right to go to school, her teacher Mariam Khalique is pressing parents to understand that educating girls is key to a stable and prosperous Pakistan.

I feel proud when I tell people that I’m from Swat in Pakistan, with its green and mountainous valley. But I don’t feel proud about the number of women and girls where I’m from who are still being deprived of an education.

Among the girls whom I have taught—girls like Malala Yousafzai, the young education activist whom the Taliban tried to assassinate—I see the dignity that education can offer. This is why I have dedicated my career to teaching, and why I am doing what I can to ensure all girls have the chance to go to school by supporting UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

At the Khushaal School and College in Mingora, where I started my career, 700 out of 1,000 pupils are boys. Many girls are prevented from going to school because of poverty and conflict. In Mingora, however, the most common reasons for girls not attending classes are cultural. People fear that females will become too independent if they are educated. Instead parents prefer to marry off girls early, some as young as 10. Girls and young women are otherwise considered to be a financial burden if left dependent on their parents.

Early marriages take place not just where I have worked, but in all of the villages and towns around me. News articles in Pakistan have recently reported that almost a quarter of girls from rural parts of Pakistan were married before they were even 18 years old.

THE PAGEMASTER

Malala Opens British Library

Malala Opens British Library Christopher Furlong/Getty

“Books are precious,” she says.

Malala Yousafzai, the teen who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan and has become a beacon for women’s rights, officially opened a library in Birmingham, England. After being shot, she was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and she considers the city her second home, she said in her opening speech. This is no ordinary library: its colossal collection has 1 million books, more than 200 public-access computers, theaters, an exhibition gallery, and music rooms. Malala says books and education are key to fighting terrorism and promoting peace.

Read it at BBC

article

The Taliban’s Letter to Malala

Not quite an apology, the open letter from a senior jihadist quotes Kissinger and British philosopher Bertrand Russell. Read the bizarre letter here.

A senior Taliban commander on Wednesday published an open letter to Malala Yousafzai, in response to her speech at the United Nations on July 12, on the occasion of her 16th birthday.

Watch the highlights of Malala's UN speech.

The bizarre letter—in parts menacing, in parts almost apologetic—was written by Adnan Rasheed, a senior figure in the Pakistani Taliban who escaped in a prison break last year before vowing to assassinate former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.

In it, the militant jihadist quotes former secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, as well as a letter written by the British secretary of War in 1835 to make his case. It also includes a disclaimer: it does not express the official views of the Taliban or any other jihadi faction or group.

Schooling

Malala's Pakistan By The Numbers

Nine months after schoolgirl and education advocate Malala Yousafzai was shot by a Taliban gunman, the state of girls' education in her country remains dismal.

On October 15, when a gunmen took aim at 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai on a schoolbus in Pakistan’s Swat valley, he unwittingly brought the world’s attention to the plight of women and girls striving for an education under constant Taliban threat. On Friday, during a speech to the United Nations, Malala reaffirmed her mission to pursue gender equality, saying she's just "one girl among many." Meanwhile, back in her native Pakistan, the fight goes on. A look at some of the telling facts and figures about girls' education in the region and what Malala is striving to change:

2: The ranking of Pakistan on the list of countries with the most out-of-school children, with around 5.4 million primary school age children lacking access to education.

 

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The Internet Loves Malala

Social media exploded with well-wishes and support for the 16-year-old as she spoke at the U.N. on Friday.

The Bravest Girl

Malala’s Message to the U.N.

On her 16th birthday, the Pakistani schoolgirl—who survived being shot by the Taliban—pressed global dignitaries to support the right of all girls to go to school.

Wrapped in a pink shawl that once belonged to Benazir Bhutto, speaking to an audience of hundreds of youth delegates and foreign dignitaries, Malala Yousafzai had a message for the Taliban who tried to murder her: “I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same.”

It’s been nine months since gunmen ambushed Malala’s schoolbus in the remote Swat Valley of northern Pakistan and shot her at point-blank range, all because she dared to raise her voice and demand an education for herself and other girls. The attack was meant to silence her—but instead it sparked a global wave of support for Malala and her friends and spotlighted the need to fight on behalf of all children for the right to go to school.

It was this right that formed the heart of Malala’s appeal to the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of her 16th birthday on July 12, now christened “Malala Day.” As her beaming parents looked on, Malala delivered a speech full of poise and fire: “Dear brothers and sisters—do remember one thing. Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voices for their rights,” she told the cheering crowd. “Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I’m just one of them. So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself but for those without voice…those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.”

Despite the outpouring of support for Malala in the wake of her shooting, attacks on women and girls continue unabated in Pakistan. Earlier this year, extremists killed a 41-year-old teacher at an all-girls’ school on the Afghan border, and militants massacred 14 female students and injured dozens of others in a suicide bombing at a women’s university in Baluchistan. And earlier this month, two teenage sisters were slaughtered by their stepbrother, simply for being caught on videotape dancing in the rain—an act that supposedly “stained the family’s honor.”

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Best of Malala's U.N. Speech

Malala celebrated her 16th birthday by calling for gender equality and universal education in an inspirational speech at the United Nations. Here are the highlights.

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'Malala Day Is Not My Day'

Speaking at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, Malala Yousafzai called for equality among boys and girls. 'I speak not for myself, but for those without [a] voice,' she said.

Fourteen female students were killed by a bus bomb in Pakistan on Saturday—just eight months after Malala Yousafzai nearly died in a similar incident. Gordon Brown on the launch of a new petition to protect girls’ basic right to learn.

Exactly eight months after Malala Yousafzai was shot with two friends on their school bus, yet another bus massacre by Pakistani militants has killed 14 female students and left dozens injured.

Pakistan Bus Boming

Security personnel stand near a burnt student bus on June 16, a day after it was destroyed by a bomb attack in Quetta, Pakistan. (Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty)

The full horrifying details are only now just emerging of how the bus carrying more than 40 girls, who had just completed their day's studies at an all-women medical college in the city of Quetta, was blown up after a female suicide bomber hid on the bus.

The attack in the bus park of the Sardar Bahadur Khan Women's University in the province of Baluchistan is an even more brutal incident than last year's bus shooting that almost claimed the life of Malala and her two friends, Kainat and Shazia—and it represents a terrifying escalation of the terrorist assault on girls' education.

Meet Malala, The Girl Shot By The Taliban

In 2009, New York Times reporter Adam B. Ellick travelled to Swat Valley, Pakistan, to profile Malala Yousafzai on the day before the Taliban closed her school. Malala was shot last Tuesday, and is recovering.

Impact

Women in the World

Angelina Jolie: We All Are Malala

Angelina Jolie: We All Are Malala

I told my kids—and you should too: Girls’ education is under threat in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and around the world. It’s time we all took a stand. By Angelina Jolie. Plus: Here’s how you can help.

Call to Arms

Malala's Cause

Put Education First. Now.

Put Education First. Now.

As millions mark Malala Day, we must take this opportunity to guarantee access to education for all young girls by 2015.

The Backstory on Angelina Jolie's Report

Abigail Pesta, editorial director of Women in the World, and Kim Azzarelli, President of Women in the World Foundation, discuss Angelina Jolie's moving column on the attempted murder of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education. How you can help: womenintheworld.org/malala

Plus

More on Pakistan

Taliban Peacemaker Locked Up

Taliban Peacemaker Locked Up

A key voice for reconciliation in Afghanistan has been missing for weeks after an apparent arrest. Why the prime suspect is Pakistan—and the motive to sabotage any potential peace deal.

Disarming

Women Battling Terrorism

Shady

The Taliban’s Shadow Invasion

Activist

Fighting With a Camera

Gladiatorial

India’s Nationalist Cricket Row

Pakistani Oscar Winner: Malala Isn't Alone

Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani activist who was shot last week by the Taliban and is now fighting for her life, has captivated the world with her heroic campaign for women's rights-but she isn't alone in her efforts. Documentarian Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy sat down with The Daily Beast to discuss the growing movement of women trying to 'change the narrative' in her country.