Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, has visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to urge members of Congress to invest more in education for young people.
The 17-year-old Pakistani activist has travelled to the US with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, to speak with lawmakers about boosting funding for girls’ secondary education through First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative, Let Girls Learn.
As the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala first rose to public fame in 2012 when, at just 15, she was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan when she was returning from school with several other students.
The militants targeted her because she advocated education for women. However, an undeterred Malala has continued to fight for under-served young people all over the world, taking her message of “books, not bullets” to America this week.
Ahead of her visit to Capitol Hill, Malala said in a statement: “It is time that a bold and clear commitment is made by the US to increase funding and support governments around the world to provide 12 years of free primary and secondary education for everyone by 2030.”
Introducing the young laureate, Stewart told the audience: “To be quite honest with you, I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world I would rather talk to tonight than Malala. So that’s what we’re going to do. And sorry about no jokes.”
Offering her condolences and prayers to the families of the nine victims who were killed in the attack, she said: “I have seen these kinds of situations in my life when there’s no justice, when there’s no human feelings, and there’s no humanity, and for a second, you think that no-one has feelings at all.”
A subdued Stewart found himself at a loss for words – in the awake of the attack – when the young laureate added: “Sometimes, we wait for others and think that a Martin Luther should raise among us, a Nelson Mandela should raise among us and speak up for us.
“But we never realise that they are normal humans like us and, if we step forward, we can also bring change – just like them.”
After several meetings with lawmakers in Capitol Hill yesterday, the young activist was asked about how her experience had been. She told The Washington Post it had been “amazing” and added: “I hope for a positive outcome.”
If not, she said: “I will come again and again and again.”
Malala is travelling to Denver this evening where she will speak to a sold-out crowd at the Bellco Theatre as part of a women’s lecture series.
Malala has been promoting her upcoming documentary, He Named Me Malala. Watch the official trailer:Reuse content