Malala Addresses the U.N.

On her 16th birthday.

What a sweet 16th. In honor of her birthday on Friday, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai addressed the United Nations to highlight the importance of access to global education. "Here I stand, one girl among many," she began. "I speak not for myself but for those without voice ... those who have fought for their right ... to live in peace, to be treated with dignity, to be educated." Less than a year ago, Malala was the target of a brutal assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen in her native Swat tribal region of Pakistan. The extremists could not tolerate the teenager's simple wish: that she, and other girls in her country, could go to school and learn. "The extremists are afraid of books and pens," Malala continued. "The power of education frightens them." Amid a standing ovation, she called on the leaders of the world to join in her fight. "We want schools and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights. We believe in the power and strength of our words...our words can change the whole world."

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