Malala becomes youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace


NEW YORK: UN  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday designated Malala Yousafzai as United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls’ education.

Malala Yousafzai became the youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace. She was designated the role at a ceremony in New York on Monday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described her as a “symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world, education for all”.

Ms Yousafzai follows in the footsteps of boxing great Muhammad Ali, Leonardo Di Caprio, Stevie Wonder and Charlize Theron who have all been UN Messengers of Peace.

Accepting the accolade, Malala told a packed hall at the UN that she is proud of being a Pakistani.

Malala Yousafzai emphasised the importance of education, especially education of girls, for advancing communities and societies. “If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now and not wait for anyone else,” Malala said.

At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years. She was also the youngest person to win the Nobel peace prize in 2014 when she was 17.

“You are not only a hero, but you are a very committed and generous person,” Guterres told Yousafzai.

Yousafzai has become a regular speaker on the global stage and visited refugee camps in Rwanda and Kenya last July to highlight the plight of refugee girls from Burundi and Somalia.

“The extremists tried all their best to stop me, they tried to kill me and they didn’t succeed,” Yousafzai said on Monday. “Now this is a new life, this is a second life and it is for the purpose of education.”

Malala said she represents Pakistan as a messenger of peace and not the terrorists.