SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — Joined by 193 youth representatives holding bright blue solar-powered lanterns representing their hopes for the future, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai raised her voice for peace and education in the name of billions of children across the globe at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City Sept. 25.
“Today we are 193 young people representing billions more,” the Pakistani education activist said. “Each lantern we hold represents the hope we have for our future because of the commitment you have made to the Global Goals.”
Yousafzai, who first addressed the UN on her 16th birthday, now dubbed Malala Day, July 12, 2013, delivered the roughly four-and-half minute speech at the launch of the three-day Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, Summit.
The summit provides the opportunity for the UN to adopt a set of 17 global goals intended to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all” over the next 15 years.
The goals include:
1. No poverty
2. Zero hunger
3. Good health and well-being
4. Quality education
5. Gender equality
6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
10. Reduced inequalities
11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
13. Climate action
14. Life below water
15. Life on land
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
17. Partnerships for the goals
Yousafzai called on world leaders to promise peace and education to all the children of the world, whether they live in India or Syria, saying “free and quality primary education” is “the real investment that the world needs.”
“Education is not a privilege, education is a right,” Yousafzai said. “Education is peace.”
Afterward, Yousafzai and four other female activists — Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan of Pakistan, Amina Yusuf of Nigeria, and Salam Masri of Syria — who were on stage with her earlier, held a press conference where they elaborated on the need for education and “the need to bring humanity into society.”
In addition to education, Yousafzai emphasized the need to listen to children and help the growing number of refugees leaving war-torn regions.
“The world needs a change; it cannot change itself,” Yousafzai said. “It’s me, it’s you, it’s all of us, who have to bring that change.”