Malala Day is an international observance annually celebrated on 12th July to honour the birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist and Nobel Prize laureate.
- The day is also marked to honour Malala, who is known for her advocacy of girls’ education. It also signifies the free, quality and compulsory education for every child across the world.
i. On July 12, 2013, Malala on her 16th birthday gave an impactful address at the United Nations (UN) in New York.
- She primarily focussed on the need for worldwide quality education to the women and appealed world leaders in this regard to bring changes to their policies.
ii. The UN declared her birthday as “Malala Day” and has been observed internationally for the first time on 12th July 2013.
iii. On 12 July 2013, the UN celebrated Malala Day, an event in support of UN’s Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), which brought together hundreds of young leaders to call on world leaders to ensure free and compulsory education for every child around the world.
Note: GEFI, a 5 year global initiative to mobilise efforts and action for education and rally a global movement to achieve quality, relevant and inclusive education for all by 2015.
About Malala Yousafzai:
i. She was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. In 2008, she started advocating for women’s education in Pakistan.
ii. In 2012, she was brutally attacked by the Taliban, who restricted female education. Then she became an international symbol of the fight for girls’ education.
iii. In 2013, TIME magazine named Malala one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”
iv. In 2013, Malala and her fatherZiauddin Yousafzai co-founded the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to demand change.
v. The UN Secretary-General AntónioGuterres designated Malala as a UN’s Messenger of Peace in 2017 to help raise awareness of the importance of girl’s education.
Malala has written several books, including “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up Education and was shot by the Taliban”, an autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, co-authored with Christina Lamb, published in 2013; Malala Speaks Out (2023).
i. In October 2014, Malala was named a Nobel Peace Prize winner at the age of 17, she became the youngest person to receive this prize.
ii. She is the first Pashtun and the second Pakistani to receive the Nobel Prize, while the first was Abdus Salam, Pakistani physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1979
i. In 2012, the Pakistani government awarded Malala, the National Peace Award, subsequently renamed the National Malala Peace Prize for those under 18 years old.
ii. On October 10, 2013, the European Parliament awarded Malala the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for acknowledging her work.
iii. In April 2023, she became the first Pakistani to receive the honour of Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP), which promotes numerous Pakistan-related events at Oxford University, England, United Kingdom.
2023 Event in the UN:
i. On the occasion of International Malala day, an event was organised by the UN on 12th July 2023 to address a decade of work for girls’ education in Nigeria.
ii. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace were joined together to discuss the importance of advancing and transforming girls’ education.