UNITED NATIONS: With a maturity and poise that belied her tender years, Malala Yousufzai stood by world leaders on Wednesday and called for books not guns.
“Instead of sending weapons, instead of sending tanks to Afghanistan and all these countries which are suffering from terrorism, send books,” she pleaded.
“Instead of sending tanks, send pens,” she urged, her hair modestly covered by a scarf as she took part in the first anniversary of the Global Education First initiative at the UN.
“Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers,” Malala argued at an event attended by Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Croatian premier Ivo Josipovic.
According to the UN, some 57 million children around the world of elementary school age are denied an education – and 52 per cent of them are girls.
“This is my dream to see every child to be educated,” Malala told the gathering. “This is my dream to see equality for every human being.”
“This is my dream to see peace everywhere in the world, in Nigeria, in Syria, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan.”
“We want women to be independent…and to have equal rights as men have,” Malala said.
“We believe in equality and to give equality to women is justice,” she added, receiving resounding applause. “We are here to find a solution for all these problems that we are facing.”
UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the teenager for “your courage and triumph” which he said “have inspired millions of people across the world.”
Malala’s courage has already won her numerous awards, including the highest honour from Amnesty International, which announced she would be named an Ambassador of Conscience