Pakistan's Malala celebrates 16th birthday with emotional U.N. speech
Friday, July 12, 2013 - 01:32
July 12 - In her first speech since the Taliban in Pakistan shot her for advocating girls' education, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday at the U.N. to appeal for free education for all children. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
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STORY: In her first speech since the Taliban in Pakistan tried to kill her for advocating education for girls, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday on Friday at the United Nations, appealing for compulsory free schooling for all children.
Wearing a pink head scarf, Yousafzai told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students from around the world attending a Youth Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York that education was the only way to improve lives.
"Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution," she said.
Yousafzai was shot in the head at close range by gunmen in October as she left school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, northwest of the country's capital Islamabad, after campaigning against the Islamist Taliban efforts to deny women education.
She said her attackers thought a bullet would silence her and others like her, but that they had "failed."
"The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born," said Yousafzai to loud applause.
U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said Friday's event was not just a celebration of Malala's birthday and her recovery, but of her vision.
Yousafzai presented U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with a petition signed by nearly 4 million people in support of 57 million children who are not able to go to school and demanding that world leaders fund new teachers, schools and books and end child labor, marriage and trafficking.
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