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Friday, October 18, 2013

A Conversation With Pakistani Education Advocate Malala Yousafzai

From left: Ziauddin Yousafzai, Jackie Jenkins- Scott, President of Wheelock College, Malala Yousafzai, Nicholas Negroponte, founder of “One Laptop per Child” Association,  Robin Young, host of Here & Now, and Tom McNaught, executive director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. (Tom Fitzsimmons)

From left: Ziauddin Yousafzai, Jackie Jenkins- Scott, President of Wheelock College, Malala Yousafzai,
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of “One Laptop per Child” Association, Robin Young, host of Here & Now, and Tom McNaught, executive director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. (Tom Fitzsimmons)

Almost a year ago to the day, 16-year old Pakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face by a Taliban gunman, who shouted “Who Is Malala?” as he approached her.

Her new memoir is an answer. It is titled “I Am Malala.”

Yousafzai survived the attack and after months of surgeries, she has continued her campaign for education for girls.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young sat down with Yousafzai when she recently came to Boston.

The JFK Library Foundation honored Yousafzai in recognition for her “fight for universal education.”

Interview Highligts: Malala Yousafzai

On Her First Memories Of School
“When I was a child — when I couldn’t even speak — my mother used to take me to the classroom. And my mother says, ‘You used to deliver a speech, or give a lecture, to the empty chairs, into the empty classroom.'”

“I loved my school because I was learning there. I was not only learning about cells and about biology, I was learning about equality. That all the girls who are sitting on the same benches are equal.”

On The Support She Received While Recovering In The Hospital

“They used to write on the envelopes, ‘The girl who was shot.’ And I received those cards, and I’m really thankful to people for their encouragement, for their support. Because they aren’t only supporting me, they are supporting the cause of girls’ education. And so I’m really happy now that I have those cards. As well as teddy bears. People have even given me shampoos, shoes, dresses, night suits.”

“Thank you so much to all of them.”

On People Who Don’t Believe Her Story

“People who are against me would say, ‘This did not happen at all, and this is a fake picture, and she was not hit by the bullet.’ Some people say, ‘Her father did it.'”

“I think these people cannot trust anyone anymore because most of the leaders, the politicians they have seen, are corrupt. That might be the reason. But I’m not asking for any support for myself. Whether I’m shot or not, it does not matter. I want support for my cause of education, for my cause of peace.”

On Praying To Be Taller

“I was really worried about my height. I said, ‘I’ll never grow up, I’m never going to be taller.'”

“I was asking Him only for two, three inches, and He just made me as high as the sky. And now I’m that much high, that I can reach people. Reaching you is the greatest height.”

Guest

  • Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education advocate, who was shot by Taliban militants last year. She is the author of the memoir, “I am Malala.”

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