10 December 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to Event on Girls’ Education, Hails Taliban-targeted

Malala as Role Model for World beyond Pakistan


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video remarks at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) event on girls’ education, in Paris on 10 December:

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Government of Pakistan and UNESCO for standing up for Malala Yousufzai and girls’ education.

Today, we mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  That landmark document is clear — education is a universal human right for all.  Every girl and boy must have the right to dream of a better world and the skills and tools to build it.  That is the power of education.  That is the spirit of my new global initiative, Education First.

Girls face the greatest barriers — yet girls’ education yields the greatest benefits for girls, for families and for communities.  Despite that truth, girls comprise most of the world’s out-of-school children.  They face discrimination and violence simply because they are girls.

Nowhere should it be an act of bravery for a young girl to go to school.  Like so many in Pakistan and around the world, I was deeply moved by Malala Yousufzai’s courage to champion education for women and girls.  The “I am Malala” campaign — spearheaded by my Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown — gathered over 2 million signatures from the international community and Pakistan citizens.  The Government of Pakistan is responding, with the Parliament voting to make education free and compulsory for all children.

Malala is truly a role model, not only for Pakistan, but the world.  Thank you for standing up for all that she stands for:  girls’ education; the right to education for all.

I am proud to join with you.  Thank you for your commitment and action.

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For information media • not an official record