United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai a U.N. Messenger of Peace on Monday to promote girls education, more than four years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012.
Guterres also cited Yousafzai's "courageous defense" of the rights of all people, including women and girls, to education and equality, and honored her for showing "an unwavering dedication to peace" even in the face of great danger, and her desire to foster a better world. During a designation ceremony, UN Secretary-General António Guterres selected and honoured Yousafzai as the organisation's Messenger of Peace.
In the year 2013, Yousafzai and her father co-founded the Mala fund in order to create more awareness about the girl education and the need to empower girls stand up and demand for the change.
Malala was shot in the head by Taliban terrorists in 2012 for her bravery and resilience in defense of girls' education, sparking global outrage and outpouring of support for the young girl.
Of her emergence as the leading campaigner for girls" education, she said: "It wasn't that I was very intelligent or very clever or I had some special kind of training or something.
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While she is controversial among some in her home country - there are many who believe a number of different stories about her shooting, for example, that it was an American conspiracy - others believe she has helped advance education for girls.
The Pakistani activist and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate has become a household name.
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. This means that now this a new life, a second life, and it is for the objective of education".
Over 130 million girls are out of school today.
After being shot, she was flown to a hospital in Birmingham, England, for treatment. Many are forced to marry early or must work or care for younger siblings, denying them their right to education.
Malala Yousafzai speaks at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in NY on September 25, 2015. In Lebanon alone, only half of Syrian refugee children can go to school. She was targeted for her campaign against efforts by the Taliban to bar women from getting education.