Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai selected an essay written by a Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior named Julia Fine, 17, as the winner of a CNN contest for teens to write about being inspired by the young Pakistani.
Malala, an advocate for education for girls, was shot by a Taliban gunman on Oct. 9, 2012, as she was returning home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where she lived. She had blogged anonymously against a Taliban ban on girls attending school but later become known for her advocacy. Malala survived the shooting and had intensive rehabilitation in England before continuing to champion the cause of education for girls.
Malala selected Julia Fine’s from hundreds of essays in the contest, which asked teens to answer this question: “What specifically has Malala done to inspire you?” Julia traveled to New York City on Thursday to meet Malala and to attend an interview with Malala and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour that will be broadcast on Sunday night as part of a show called “The Bravest Girl in the World.”
Julia attends BCC, where she is a senior and co-editor of her school’s student newspaper. She is co-president of the School Girls Unite club at her school and youth outreach coordinator for Day of the Girl, which is a United Nations-recognized effort on Oct. 11 of every year by numerous groups around the world to highlight, discuss and advance the lives of girls.
By Julia Fine
As a teenager, it’s easy to feel lost, to get swallowed up into the mob mentality and lose your voice. We’ve all been victim to that; anyone who says they haven’t is either lying or under the age of 13 years. And so when a teenage girl undertakes such an incredible task of courage, one adults cower in fear of doing, the event takes on utmost significance. This is exactly what Malala Yousafzai, a huge inspiration to me and so many other girls, did.
Malala stood up for herself, for her education and for her fundamental rights when confronted by a fearsome terrorist group. Malala has created a chain reaction all around the world, bringing change, light and hope to girls across all continents.
Being teenage girls in the United States, so many times, we forget the opportunities we have been given. We roll our eyes and joke about dropping out of school, a right we take for granted in this country. I don’t know if I speak for all girls when I say this, but I know for me that after hearing about Malala’s fight for education, I cannot take mine so lightly any longer.
I plan to continue my education so that I can fight for those who cannot. Malala has inspired me to study politics, gender studies, social justice and peace so that I am equipped with the tools I need to help others, the tools so many girls are not given.
But Malala has inspired more than just my own education; she has inspired my entire outlook and goals.
After I first learned of Malala, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Yes, I was more serious about my education and understood its importance now, but I wanted to become an activist and do something. I became co-president of my school’s club School Girls Unite, a group that sponsors the education of 66 girls in Mali and lobbies Congress annually to increase foreign aid for education. I also became involved with the International Day of the Girl Child as the Day of the Girl U.S. youth outreach coordinator so I could speak to more girls about issues like education.
I have heard some people say that Malala is a mere poster child for Western ideals of education, but that could not be further from the truth; Malala is the hero who created the domino effect of change, bringing attention and empowering girls and boys alike to act on this issue.
It may sound corny, but I assure you that it is true: I believe that Malala has changed the course of my life, and I only hope that through activism around the world, other girls will have their lives changed as well.
Thank you, Malala. Thank you for your bravery, your passion and your heroism. You inspire me and so many other girls so much, and what you do is incredible. You go, girl!
Malala Yousafzai (born July 12, 1997 ) is a Pakistanistudent and educationactivist. She is known for her activism for girls' and women's rights, especially for her campaign to allow girls go to school. She was a victim of a gunshot attack on October 2012.
Yousafzai is the youngest person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. She was awarded the prize in October 2014, when she was just 17 years old.
Life[change | change source]
Yousafzai is originally from the town of Mingora in the Swat District. In 2009, at age 11, many people got to know her through a weblog of the BBC News' Urdu language service. The BBCpublishedtranslated writings about her life under Taliban rule.
On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Atta Ullah Khan, a Taliban gunman. She was given emergency treatment in Pakistan and then moved to Great Britain for more medical treatment.
On 3 January 2013, Yousafzai was discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to continue to recover at her family's temporary home in the West Midlands. She had two five-hour long operations on 2 February 2013. She had a titanium plate put over the hole in her skull and a cochlear implant so she could hear again.
In May 2012 David Trumble, an award-winning artist, made a cartoon of Yousafzai as a Disney princess as part of a drawing of other feminist icons that he had made into princesses that was in the Huffington Post.
On 12 July 2013, at age 16, she made a speech at the headquarters of the United Nations, stressing the right to education for all and for human rights and peace and non-violence against terrorism and intolerance citing the proverb: "the pen is mightier than the sword".
She was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
On October she met President Obama, Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia in the Oval Office.
She wrote a book about her life I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which was published in October 2013. The book was banned in Pakistani private schools. The Taliban have said that they still want to assassinate Yousafzai.
Honours[change | change source]
Besides the Nobel Prize in 2014, Yousafzai has been honoured for her work many times.
- She is the 2013 recipient of the Sakharov Prize.
- She was one of the winners of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year. Lady Gaga, who was also a winner and was on the month's cover, said that Yousafzai should have been on November's cover of Glamour instead of her.
- On 27 November 2013 Yousafzai was given the GG2 Hammer Award at the GG2 (Garavi Gujarat2) Leadership Awards 2013.
- Yousafzai was chosen by TIME magazine as a candidate for 2013's Person of the Year.
- In 2014 she given a Doctor of Civil Law degree by the University of King's College.
- Also in 2014, the Government of Canada announced Yousafzai would become an honorary citizen of Canada. The ceremony was supposed to happen on 22 October of that year, but was cancelled because of a shooting at Parliament Hill. Three years later, on 12 April 2017, she received her certificate of citizenship from Justin Trudeau, who called her "the newest and possibly bravest citizen of Canada".