Malala Yousafzai to speak at Edinburgh University

Malala Yousafzai. Pic: AP
Malala Yousafzai. Pic: AP
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A Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban is to speak in Edinburgh next month.

Malala Yousafzai, 16, who was shot in the head last October after her outspoken views on education and women’s rights brought her into conflict with the Taliban, will urge the international community to uphold human rights around the world.

She will address the first public meeting of the Global Citizenship Commission, a body of global leaders representing politics, religious institutions, law and philanthropy, at Edinburgh University on October 19.

The commission will be led by former prime minister Gordon Brown, UN special envoy for global education and MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. It will discuss global developments since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed in 1948.

Mr Brown said: “The debate around ethics and the protection of human rights is as important today as it was in 1948 when the Universal Declaration was signed. This commission brings together global leaders in the field of ethics and citizenship, and crucially allows members of the public to join the debate. After all, it is their rights of global citizens that this historic document enshrines.”

Malala will be guest of honour at the event which is supported by New York University and Carnegie UK Trust.

Voted one of the world’s 100 most influential people, Malala began blogging for the BBC in 2009 about her life in Pakistan’s Swat Valley region and her desire to attend school safely and freely.

Her increasing profile in the global media and her campaigns for universal education and women’s rights brought her into conflict with the Taliban, members of which attempted to assassinate her in October last year.

Martyn Evans, chief executive of Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Malala is a person that the world takes notice of. She has shown incredible bravery in her drive to speak out for the rights of women and the universal right to education. This event is all about listening to the challenges of the modern world and I can’t think of a better ambassador or teacher than Malala.”

Edinburgh University principal Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea said: “How we understand and promote human rights is a matter of global significance and it is a privilege to host the first public hearing of the commission.”

Members of the commission who are confirmed to attend the event are Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurel Bellows, Nicolas Berggruen, Paul Boghossian, Derek Bok, Sissela Bok, Gordon Brown, Mohamed El Baradei, Andrew Forrest, Ronald George, John Kufuor, Kate O’Regan, Emma Rothschild, Robert Rubin, Robert Shrum, Jeremy Waldron, Joseph Weiler and Rowan Williams.