Millions of girls around the world are unable to go to school. Fortunately for Nafkot Aschenaki, this was not the case. At the age of 24, Nafkot graduated from her local university in Ethiopia with a law degree.
Ornithologists may have discovered a rare species of owl in Oman. But there's an even rarer breed of higher education exhilaration in this tiny nation, an excitement that is igniting a flame of hope and possibility in a world that so desperately needs it.
It has been rare, certainly in recent times, that someone from my home country, Pakistan, has become a household name for courage, dignity and passion for a worthy cause. Yet Malala Yousafzai has done exactly that.
Studies have shown that half of the reduction in child deaths in the last 20 years is the result of increases in mothers' general level of education. 4 million children are alive today because their mothers got an education.
Something special is happening in Thailand. Over 400 girls are blossoming like beautiful lotuses at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya School -- the first Buddhist boarding school for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Which prime movers are featured in our history and government textbooks? Whose stone faces look out from Mount Rushmore? Whom do we honor with national holidays? Who are the central characters in our movies, TV shows, and books?
The outpouring of international support for Yousafzai is marked with people clamoring for ways to help the girl and her family. The biggest help? Stop giving women fish, and instead begin to teach women how to fish for themselves.
You were cruelly caught up in massive tragedy while witnessing in a simple, wholly understandable way to equal rights, fairness and decency in a frequently indecent world. What in God's name did you really do to unleash such fury?
I have been thinking about Malala and the fate of millions of Muslim schoolgirls all week. And that knot in my stomach has returned. Why is it that all too often we allow children to do our freedom fighting for us?
School reform will not succeed in the absence of a comprehensive agenda to address the conditions of poverty, homelessness, parental illiteracy, drug abuse, hunger and violence that leave children abandoned and debilitated on the margins of this society.