THE BLOG

Taking Bold Steps to Turn Malala's Vision Into Action

11/08/2012 09:48 pm ET | Updated Jan 08, 2013

A vast outpouring of global support for Malala Yousafzai will happen on Saturday when the world comes together to back her cause for a girl's right to go to school. From the rickshaw on the streets of Islamabad with a poster featuring Malala's face simply stating, "Peace and Education," to a message from the United Nations Secretary-General and petitions of over one million names being submitted in nearly 100 countries on every continent, the world is coming together with the people of Pakistan with one simple message: Every girl and boy should go to school.

School children, teachers and parents are going global with this message, holding vigils and rallies, handing in petitions, and holding governments accountable for the right to education. Media companies, newspaper and radio stations are broadcasting the message. From the likes of Justin Bieber, Angelina Jolie and David Beckham to Lewis Hamilton, Usher and Heidi Klum, celebrities have also joined in speaking out for Malala, including tweeting, Facebook posts, blogs and wearing "I am Malala" t-shirts and headbands.

Over the next several days, I will visit Pakistan to commemorate Malala Day on November 10th, one month following the tragic shooting of a young girl simply for wanting to go to school. I will meet with President Zardari and Ministers in the Pakistani government and visit schools during my stay to meet those very children whose families struggle each day to make sure they have the opportunity to go to school and learn.

During my stay, I will hand over petitions signed by over one-million people from across the globe to the president. At the same time, news is pouring into my office from civil society groups on every continent saying that they too will commemorate Malala Day and turn in petitions in the capitals of their countries.

I encourage everyone to do something on this day to show their support for Malala by delivering the petition, holding vigils and events, wearing T-shirts and spreading the word on social media.

As the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, I will ask President Zardari to work with the international community, including the United Nations agencies, the Global Partnership for Education, World Bank, donor countries, NGOs and civil society -- alongside Pakistani citizens, teachers, parents, foundations and children, to achieve what Pakistan itself has declared to be its aim: universal education.

I will ask him to take measures aimed at fast-tracking and accelerating progress to overcome the bottlenecks keeping millions of girls and boys out of school. Through an accelerated process to achieve the Millennium Development Goal for education and ensure all children, particularly girls, have quality schooling, Pakistan will take a bold step in providing opportunity and peace for its future generations.

Making a quality education a reality for every child requires us to tackle difficult challenges head on as there are formidable barriers to overcome. But the good news is that there is no technological or scientific barrier to universal education. All we need is a collective determination to achieve our aim.

The best news of all is that Malala is recovering -- and her recovery will continue to motivate millions to join the fight for the right of every girl and boy to go to school free of fear.

This blog is part of a series called "Malala's Impact," which highlights the need for global education. The series is launched in partnership with the Global Day of Action for Malala campaign, which takes place on November 10.

The Office of the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Global Education would like to thank all of the organizations across the globe, too numerous to name, who have come together to support Malala Day, including Avaaz, Plan International, Global March Against Child Labour, the Global Partnership for Education, Mexicanos Primeros, the Global Campaign for Education, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, UN Women and the Education First Youth Steering Committee.