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No Bullets, Bombs, Threats or Intimidation Will Deter Education for All

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Today, one month after the terrible shooting of Malala Yousafzai, I met with the president of Pakistan to discuss Malala's dream of education for all.

On the eve of Malala Day, I presented petitions already signed by over one million people in the international community in honor of Malala and her cause.

These signatures were joined with another one million signatures collected by Pakistani civil society's One Million Signature Campaign to demand free and compulsory education and another 100,000 signatures from out-of-school Pakistani children.

The president and I agreed on a series of deadlines for finance and delivery to ensure that all of Pakistan's five million out-of-school children have the opportunity to go to school.

Pakistan has today requested to join the Accelerated Millennium Development Goal Framework process that will allow the country to assess its current education plans, strategies and bottlenecks in consultation with international organizations and then work together to contribute to Pakistan's dream of education or all.

A deadline for an agreement on an accelerated plan for reaching MDG 2 has been set for April 2013, when the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, President of the World Bank Jim Kim and I, alongside the heads of major international agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and the Global Partnership for Education, will meet in Washington with the Ministers of Education and Finance of Pakistan. We will harness international and domestic support for realizing the 2015 goal.

The April meeting will be preceded by five months of intensive in-country work with the Pakistan government, civil authorities and foundations, and international organizations to ensure that a detailed, budgeted plan delivers quality education for every girl and boy with teachers, books and classrooms by 2015.

I have suggested to the president that he consider involving all educational organizations from civil society interested in achieving the universal goal in the processes.

I also had the opportunity to visit a girls' school where they recited poems and showed artwork in solidarity with Malala and girls education. Across Pakistan and the world, young people are preparing to commemorate Malala Day on November 10th.

Malala's dreams represent what is best about Pakistan. Three million girls should not be denied their right to schooling any longer. Children who are barred from school today and have the right to education should be provided quality learning opportunities as quickly as possible.

I have said that the international community will will work to provide financial and technical support to Pakistan as long as it also makes a domestic commitment and delivers its commitment to put education first.

Pakistan and the international community share the same goals, and now the issue is delivery. No bombs, bullets, threats or intimidation can deter the international community, working in partnership with Pakistan, to ensure we build the schools, train teachers, provide learning materials and ensure that there is no discrimination against girls.

The plans we announce today make Malala Day on November 10th not only a day to celebrate a young girl's vision for every child to go to school, learn and be a global citizen, but an opportunity to make it come true.