Malala Yousafzai addressed Parliament in Ottawa on April 12, making history in the process as the youngest person to do so.
“If Canada leads, the world will follow,” she said to thunderous applause and repeated standing ovations in the House Of Commons on Wednesday, urging Canada to use our influence to push for more funding towards education for girls and child refugees around the world.
“You are a true example to the world of what it means to stand up for humanity and I’m hopeful that you will inspire many more countries, more leaders, to follow your footsteps,” she said, praising Canada’s dedication to world peace and issues facing women.
“These issues for women are global, they are not limited to any country, any society. So men have to play a role in this and that’s men should come out and call themselves feminists. If my father had not allowed me to speak out, I would not have been allowed to come here and speak here and be who I am today,” she said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Yousafzai would be in Ottawa in a statement earlier this month.
“Ms. Yousafzai’s courageous response to those who threatened her life, and her advocacy for girls’ education, has inspired many millions of people around the world,” Trudeau wrote in a news release.
“Her story is one of determination and dignity, and Canada is proud to call her an honourary citizen of this great country.”
Yousafzai is also the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize, which she was a co-recipient of in 2014 for her work in women and girls’ education, and for risking her life to help protect children from slavery, extremism and forced labour.
On Wednesday, she officially received her honourary Canadian citizenship.
Honourary citizenship was bestowed on her in 2014, by former prime minister Stephen Harper, but the ceremony in which she was supposed to receive it was cancelled because of the 2014 Ottawa shooting.