Malala Demands Education in UN Speech

General Assembly celebrates her 16th birthday

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2013 11:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – What did you do for your sweet 16? Because Malala Yousufzai spent hers addressing the UN, which was celebrating a special "Malala Day" in her honor today, al-Jazeera reports. "Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons," said the Pakistani teen, who became a cause célèbre after the Taliban shot her for advocating female education. "One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution."

She then presented Ban Ki-moon with a petition signed by 4 million people demanding world leaders spend more on education, and on fighting child labor, marriage, and trafficking, Reuters reports. World leaders also took the opportunity to sing her praises. Gordon Brown extolled "her dream that nothing, no political indifference, no government inaction, no intimidation, no threats, no assassin's bullets," should deny children an education. By the end, chants of "We are all Malala" filled the chamber, according to ABC.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, applauds as Malala Yousafzai, right, addresses the ‘Malala Day’ Youth Assembly, Friday, July 12, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, applauds as Malala Yousafzai, right, addresses the ‘Malala Day’ Youth Assembly, Friday, July 12, 2013 at United Nations headquarters.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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