“Stand Up for Malala” -Pakistani education rights activist honored at the UNESCO conference in Paris

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

PARIS, Dec 10 (Monitoring Desk+APP): International community on Monday appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for promoting education for girls despite threats from the militants and extremists and assured its full support to continue this important mission, by organizing an international conference on Malala.The conference jointly organised by Pakistan and UNESCO at its Paris Headquarters was a significant step in promoting education for girls through establishing a fund in the name of Malala, a Pakistani girl from Swat, who was attacked by militants for her determination to get education.President Asif Ali Zardari, who especially came to Paris to attend this important conference, was given warm welcome when he arrived here at the headquarters of UNESCO. He was received by its Director General Mrs Irina Bokova and other officials of UNESCO.

The headquarters building of UNESCO was decorated with Pakistani flags and pictures of Malala and other girls from different parts of the world to highlight the importance of girls education.

The stage of the auditorium was also decorated with big pictures of Malala and other young students to indicate the determination of the UNESCO and other international organizations for their support for girls education.
The conference “Stand up for Malala- Girls education is right” was a unique event held at UNESCO headquarters, which was also attended by a large number of Pakistani community living in Paris.

The conference started with introductory remarks by moderator Zeinab Badwai, and the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova welcoming the guests said there is diverse representation from all over the world and it is a symbol of unity.
She said attack on Malala sent a shock wave to the world to help for the right of girls for education. She said there are 32 million girls out of school and Malala stood for them. She thanked Pakistan and especially President Zardari to stand up with UNESCO in this important conference.
She said education in important for every one including girls and in this endeavour, UNESCO and Pakistan signed MoU to set up Malala Fund and thanked Pakistan for providing ten million dollars for this fund.

A statement of Malala who is in hospital was read by a young girl Lama, in which Malala thanked the Pakistan government and hospital for taking care of her.
Malala in her message said, “I am thankful to my nation in Pakistan and the whole world for supporting me and the grand cause of education that I stand for.
I am thankful also to all the nurses and doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for their outstanding care that helps me get better day by day.
People from Pakistan and all over the world prayed to God for my life and God gifted me a second life.
My dream is to see all children, especially girls, going to school to be educated. I dream of a peaceful world where all human beings are accommodating and tolerant. I wish to see equality and justice for all men and women.

I am on a journey to see my dreamland. It does not matter if I fall down; I will stand again, walk and struggle hard.
Today is the happiest day for me because the honourable President of Pakistan and UNESCO are here to help the poor and uneducated children.
I have received thousands of cards full of good wishes and a lot of gifts which is an honour for me - but if you help others and do something for the education of girls, that would be a greater honour for me and the happiest moment of my life. The sooner all deprived children go to school, the sooner I will get better.”
President Asif Ali Zardari while addressing the conference thanking the UNESCO appreciated the efforts of the international community to support Pakistan in promoting education for girls and added that it is a way to praise Malala for her courage.
French Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault speaking on the occasion said, “We are paying tribute to Malala, a young woman who worked for victory for rights of girls for education.”
He said she was prevented to go to school and it was unacceptable and the world community is with her. The French Prime Minister said Malala denounced the injustice and there was reaction from the world without any debate. He said the tragic incident of attack on Malala told the world about the importance of girls education, he said 61 million children still are outside schools and need world support to send them back to school.
The French Prime Minister assured former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his endeavour to make efforts for education for all. He appreciated Malala for raising voice for the right of girls to education through social media that urged the international community to play its due role and reaffirmed the commitment for this cause.

Video messages from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary General United Nations Ban ki-Moon were also played on this occasion. In their messages they highlighted the importance of girls education and urged the international community to unite to ensure education for all.
He said Malala Campaign, run by Gordon Brown got two million signatures in support of education and added that Malala is a role model for all for the rights of girls education.

School children from different countries including a school girl from Pakistan in their remarks on this occasion extended their full support to the mission of Malala to ensure rights for education to the girls.

Executive Director UN Women Michelle Bachelet, Former President of Finland Ms. Tarja Halonen, Director General Islamic
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaljri, High Reprehensive of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs Ms. Cathrine Ashton,Representative of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Egypt Dr.
Muhammad Al-Ahmadi Abu Al Noor, Minister of State for Education Dr. Maitha Al-Shamsi speaking on the occasion extended their full support and cooperation to Pakistan to promote education for girls.

NBC adds; Fifteen-year-old Pakistani education rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school last October, was honored Monday at the UNESCO conference in Paris.

At Monday’s “Stand Up for Malala” event marking Human Rights Day, officials from UNESCO and Pakistan launched a fund for girls’ education in her name. Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari pledged the first $10 million.

Yousafzai remained in a British hospital recovering from her gunshot wounds, but a young Yemini schoolgirl read a statement on her behalf at Mondays’ conference. “My dream is to see all children, especially girls, going to school to be educated,” the young girl read. “I dream of the peaceful world where all human beings are accommodating and tolerant. I wish to see equality and justice for all men and women.”

World leaders including French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and UN Special Envoy for Global Education (and former U.K. Prime Minister) Gordon Brown spoke at the event, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taped video messages to be presented.
“Today we stand together with Malala and the millions of other girls and women who literally risk their lives to get an education,” Clinton said on the video. “Getting an education is important to the future of every girl. It’s also important, though, for all of us, collectively, because when men and women have the same opportunities to an education, societies are better off. Economies flourish.”

Clinton praised Yousafzai while accepting a humanitarian award last week in Dublin. “All of us were moved by the story of the young Pakistani girl, Malala, who was targeted by the Taliban for the effrontery for going to school–more than that, speaking out for the rights of girls in Pakistan to go to school. She was miraculously spared from being literally shot in the face and is making what appears to be an excellent recovery.”
Zardari called Yousefzai “a young, determined daughter of my country.”

“We are facing two forces in the country, Malala represents the forces of peace and we are fighting with the forces of darkness, hatred and violence,” the president said. Zardari visited Yousafzai and her family Saturday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in England, where she has been recovering. NBC’s Amna Nawaz reported that Zardari said that Yousafzai is doing well and continues to recover. Sources have told NBC News that Yousafzai has not yet had the cranial reconstructive surgery to replace the part of her skull that was removed to reduce brain swelling after the shooting, but that may happen in the next few weeks.

Nawaz also reported that the two girls who were with Malala when she was shot and also sustained shooting injuries have now recovered and are back in school. “[They] send Malala their well wishes,” Nawaz told Andrea Mitchell Reports Monday. “They also said that they’re determined to continue to get their education.”