WASHINGTON – Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is set to become the United Nations’ youngest-ever “Messenger of Peace,” the international body’s chief has announced.
“Even in the face of grave danger, Malala Yousafzai has shown an unwavering commitment to the rights of women, girls and all people,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday on his selection of Yousafzai for the designation, The Hindu reported.
“Her courageous activism for girls’ education has already energized so many people around the world. Now as our youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace, Malala can do even more to help create a more just and peaceful world,” he said.
Guterres will honor Malala during a ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on April 10. She will help promote girl’s education around the world as part of her new role.
Malala rose to fame in 2009 for her anti-Taliban blog billed as “Gul Makai (cornflower) for the BBC against Taliban when she was merely 11.
However, many believe that her diaries were written by her father, Ziauddin an owner and principal of the school where Malala would study, in collaboration with the then BBC Urdu Service Bureau Chief.
Malal’s autobiography “I am Malala” earned fame worldwide, however was struck in controversy in Malala’s homeland with many dubbing her as a tool being exploited by the West to malign Islam and Pakistan under the guise of Taliban.
Published in 2013, her memoir has sold 287,170 copies in Britain with a total value of about 2.2 million pounds ($3 million) and over 1.8 million copies worldwide, according to a spokesman from Nielsen Book Research.
While Yousafzai has set up the Malala Fund to support girls’ education projects in developing countries, her family also established a company, Salarzai Ltd, in 2013 to protect the rights to her life story.
Addressing world leaders at a conference in London last year, Malala urged them to commit $1.4 billion to give Syrian refugee children access to education.