UNITED NATIONS: Accompanied by 193 children holding lanterns, Malala Yusufzai persuaded leaders from across the world to promise that every child would have the right to safe, free and quality education.
“Education is not a privilege, education is a right,” Malala told world leaders at the opening session of the 2030 sustainable development summit.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif missed the opening session where the 2030 agenda for sustainable development was adopted because he left London late. But his absence was not missed.
The desire of the Pakistani people for education, prosperity and peace was heard loud and clear as Malala presented their case more aptly than any Pakistani leader could.
“Look up, because the future generation is raising their voice,” she said. “Education is hope. Education is peace,” said the girl the Taliban could not kill while urging world leaders to “make this world not just a better place, but the best place to live”.
After her address, Malala and her companions, each representing 193 member states of the United Nations, went to a news conference. Malala and girl ambassadors from Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan echoed their call for education at the news conference too, urging the international community to ensure that every child gets 12 years of safe, free and quality education.
“They should think about their own children. No world leader would want their own daughter, their own son to be neglected in education, to be neglected in society, and to not be given full rights,” Malala said.
Malala also used her speech to shine light on the tragedies of the girls abducted by Boko Haram and of the children fleeing Syria with their families.
The 17 Global Goals are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the General Assembly just minutes after the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate addressed the opening session.—M. H. and A. I.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2015