Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has formally received her honorary Canadian citizenship, calling it “an incredible honour.”
The Nobel Peace Prize recipient and girls' education activist is the sixth person to hold the designation of honorary Canadian citizen. The 19-year-old activist is also the youngest person to address Canadian Parliament.
On Wednesday, April 12, Yousafzai accepted a certificate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa and spoke about issues related to girls' education and empowering women and communities around the world.
“If Canada leads, the world will follow,” Yousafzai said to applause at the House Of Commons. During her speech, she urged Canada to use its influence to push for more funding towards education for girls and child refugees around the world.
“You are a true example to the world of what it means to stand up for humanity and I’m hopeful that you will inspire many more countries, more leaders, to follow your footsteps,” she said. ““These issues for women are global, they are not limited to any country, any society. So men have to play a role in this and that’s men should come out and call themselves feminists. If my father had not allowed me to speak out, I would not have been allowed to come here and speak here and be who I am today.”
Yousafzai previously won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work in women and girls’ education, and for risking her life to help protect children from slavery, extremism and forced labour. She began blogging about her experiences when she was just 11 years old, but it was the Taliban’s attempt to kill her for her advocacy that brought international attention to her work, turning the teen into a symbol for women around the world over fighting for the right to an education.