Ziauddin Yousufzai, the father of fifteen year old school girl Malala Yousufzai has been appointed as Special UN Advisor on Global Education. This new role sees Mr Yousufzai joining the work of ensuring that every child has enjoys unimpeded access to education by the end of 2015 under the banner of the UN Secretary General’s Education First Initiative.
he announcement came in advance of the ‘Stand Up for Malala’ event held in Paris earlier this week. Mr Yousufzai was in attendance to hear the announcement of a three year plan of action to ensure international cooperation in meeting access targets. Along with plans to hold an international day of action for education on July 12th, Malala’s birthday, it was revealed that a summit to be chaired by the UN secretary General will be held in April next year for nations failing to make adequate progress will be invited.
Also, in attendance was Pakistani President Asif Zardari, who identified ensuring access to education for girls as the most effective means of combating extremism in his country. Mr Zardari, who met Malala on a recent visit to the UK hospital where she is recovering from her attack, went on to pledge $10 million to UNESCO to assist in their efforts in this area.
Acting in his role as United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been quoted as saying that Mr Yousufzai’s “unique qualities – as a teacher and head teacher as well as a parent who has had to struggle against opposition to girls’ education and the closing of schools – make him ideally suited to leading in our educational effort to get all to school”, adding that he “will play a critical role in helping remove the discrimination and barriers that prevent girls going to school.”
by Sam Jones