I had tears in my eyes for the wonderful girl who had sacrificed so much at such a young age and still remains devoted to her cause. The battle for worldwide education has only just begun, and with Malala Yousafzai at the forefront, I know that success is very near.
The fight for girls' education is the civil rights struggle of our generation. It will need a determined and vocal global campaign to make it a priority in countries where girls' needs have been neglected.
Today Malala Yousafzai sent a bold message to the world: I want every girl to be educated. If we want to honor Malala, if we want to ensure that she did not endure tragedy in vain, we need to make her dream a reality.
Malala is an icon for the struggle which seems so foreign to girls like me, comfortable in our "normal" while girls our age must fight and sacrifice and face seemingly insurmountable odds to change theirs.
"Voices for Malala" utilizes the Evergram platform and allows worldwide supporters of Malala to leave a video, audio, or text message that will be automatically collected into an online album to be delivered to Malala on New Year's Day 2013.
The story of Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban earlier this month for advocating female education, was a shocking reminder of how much still needs to be done to equalize opportunities for men and women.
Like Shabana, who risked her life to learn, Malala is just a child who wants to go to school. Yet she is also a beacon of change, and each of us has a responsibility to take notice, and to join her in demanding change.
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.
It's a governance challenge that we don't test U.S. presidential candidates by asking about global health and education issues and what our leadership is going to do to solve these most serious and complex challenges.
It is particularly tragic to consider that the attack on Malala was an attack on education and intellectual freedom. It is hardly a Western innovation, but an important and enduring legacy of Islam with its tradition of scholarship.