Secretary-General designates Malala as Messenger of Peace

Monday, 17 April 2017

Global | DPI | iSeek

On 10 April 2017, education advocate and Nobel laurate Malala Yousafzai became the first UN Messenger of Peace designated by Secretary-General António Guterres since he assumed office.

“This is your assignment. Today, I am proud to designate you the youngest ever United Nations Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on girls’ education.” said Mr. Guterres at a ceremony in the Trusteeship Council chamber at UN Headquarters in New York.

 “[You are a] symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world, education for all,” he said.

Now 19, Ms. Yousafzai first came to the international spotlight in 2012, when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out on the right of education for girls in Pakistan.

Following the designation ceremony, the Secretary-General and Malala took questions about girls’ education from youth representatives in the audience.

When asked what was the most difficult time she has faced, Ms. Yousafzai said it had been from 2007 to 2009 in the Swat Valley, “because we were at a point of making a decision about whether to speak out or remain silent. And I realized that if you remain silent, you are still going to be terrorized. So speaking out, you can help people.”

While recovering from the Taliban attack, she realized that “extremists tried everything to stop me [and the fact that they didn’t] is clear evidence that no one can stop me. I have second life for the purpose of [pressing for] education and I’ll continue working on [this issue].”

"You are the real change-makers. If you do not stand up, change will not come. If you want to see your future bright you have to start working now… Change starts with us and it starts now." Malala said, addressing the young girls of the world.

UN Messengers of Peace are widely recognized public figures, who help to raise worldwide awareness of the Organization’s ideals and activities.