LONDON: Malala Yousufzai was reunited on Saturday with two friends who were also injured along with her in a Taliban attack in Swat last year.
Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan met Malala during an event at Edinburgh University in Scotland. It was the first time they saw her since the attack.
All three girls are now living and studying in Britain. They were the guests of honour at the launch on Saturday of the Global Citizenship Commission, a body of leaders representing politics, religious institutions, law and philanthropy.
According to the website of stv news, Malala was awarded an honorary master’s degree by the university and the Carnegie Award for Wellbeing for her work promoting education and women’s rights.
Malala was guest of honour at the public meeting of the commission, which is a joint initiative between Britain’s former prime minister Gordon Brown, New York University and Carnegie UK Trust.
She received a standing ovation from the 1,000-strong audience as she lifted her honorary degree into the air.
She said: “Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to talk to you today.
“After I was shot the terrorists thought that I would not continue the struggle for education, but not only did I not stop my campaign but now Kainat and Shazia are with me and they are also supporting me.
“They are not afraid, we are not afraid and now people are supporting us and that is the greatest courage, and that is the weapon that we have got, the unity and togetherness.
“For achieving any goal, people must be united, they must work together and that is why I feel empowered.”
Malala’s confidence had the audience applauding as she said: “My studies are going well, I’m in year ten and have GCSEs coming up and hope I will get straight As.”
Mr Brown said Malala “has proved to us that neither threats, or intimidation or violence will ever silence her voice to speak up for what she believes, and what I believe, is one of the great civil rights struggles of our time.
They were joined on the stage by Malala’s father Ziauddin and Scottish doctor Fiona Reynolds who was helping set up a liver transplant service in Pakistan when she was asked by the government to help treat Malala after she had been shot.
Dr Reynolds said: “She was a fantastic patient, she was in a foreign country without her parents and was speaking her third language but I never saw her upset.”
Malala raised laughs and applause from the audience.
She said: “I have been doing a lot of speaking on education and women’s rights so it’s really embarrassing when I go to my own school and say to the teacher ‘sorry miss I need to miss school for one more day to do some talks’. “It’s hard because then I need to catch up and make sure I do my homework on time.”