Yesterday, following the acceptance of her honorary Canadian citizenship in Ottawa, Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist, Malala Yousafzai sat down for one interview, with blogger, youth activist and WE Ambassador, Hannah Alper for an exclusive interview. In one of Malala’s first interviews as a Canadian citizen, the two young activists discussed Canada, their beginnings as bloggers, youth empowerment and ultimately, how to change the world.
Hannah and Malala, who have known each other from afar through their mutual connection to WE, met in person for the first time today after Hannah was personally invited by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Malala to join the celebratory activities throughout the day.
TESTIMONIALS FROM MALALA
“I’ll always remember this as a very incredible moment in my life, and the thing I was pushing today was investment in education and I think if Canada leads in that, then the world will follow the footsteps of Canada. The world will learn from Canada and I think investment in girls’ education is the best way to which we can solve many of the issues that we are facing.”
“…I think that people often say that youth [are] the future and that their education and their wellbeing will affect each and every one of us. But I think considering youth as the future is one side, but also accept them as the present. If the youth does not have the right of education, if the youth does not get the facilities of good health… If they don’t have equal opportunities… Then it means it is impacting each and every one of us so I would say that the youth, we often call them future leaders, but in my opinion they are present leaders as well and should step forward and believe in themselves…” (sic).
“Your voice is the most important thing. If you have the voice, then nothing can stop you. If you believe yourself, nothing can stop you.”
“…In order to go forward you need to believe in yourself… You need to be your biggest supporter and your best friend. If you don’t’ believe in yourself, you can’t go forward… I always considered myself as a mature person right from the beginning and that was also because my father believed in me and he allowed me to talk, he would listen to me carefully and I think parents and your community can play a big role in that – that they listen to you, that they give importance to your voice and then you start realizing that yes your voice really matters, even if you’re young it doesn’t matter.”
“I would really want all Canadian brothers and sisters that they should come together and join this mission of education for all children. If it is about your children, you would not want your children to be out of school even if that’s for a week or a month to be deprived… So there are many children across the world, more than 130 million girls who can’t go to school, and if we do not speak out for them, they will be a generation lost. They will never get this opportunity … And this is something that we should consider as emergency. We should not ignore it. This is a time that we speak out for it now. We tell our leaders, we tell our local politicians, that we want you to focus on education especially in our foreign policies, that it should become one of our top priorities.” (sic).