Canada to grant honorary citizenship to Malala Yousafzai

OTTAWA Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:14pm EDT

Malala Yousafzai, 16-year-old Pakistani campaigner for the education of women, speaks during a news conference with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (not pictured), celebrating International Day of the Girl in Washington October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Malala Yousafzai, 16-year-old Pakistani campaigner for the education of women, speaks during a news conference with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (not pictured), celebrating International Day of the Girl in Washington October 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, will be granted honorary Canadian citizenship, the Canadian government announced on Wednesday.

She will join an elite group of foreign honorees who include South Africa's Nelson Mandela and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Canada recognizes the courageous and inspiring example set by Malala Yousafzai in risking her life promoting education for young women," the government said in a speech setting out its priorities for the next two years.

"She faced down evil and oppression and now speaks boldly for those who are silenced."

After receiving death threats from the Taliban for defying the Islamist militant group with her outspoken views on the right to education, Yousafzai was shot a year ago while on a school bus near her village in Swat in northwestern Pakistan.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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