CNN reports that Malala Yousafzai, the international icon and advocate for girls’ education, has become the youngest honorary Canadian in the country’s history at age 19.
Among the numerous awards and accolades that she has received, she is now also an honorary citizen of Canada. This occurred in an official swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday April 12.
Yousafzai said, “I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country…While I will always be a proud Pashtun and a proud citizen of Pakistan, I’m grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes.”
The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present to give her a certificate, in addition to a flag to signify both formally and informally, respectively, her Canadian citizenship. She provided a speech at the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada.
“Thank you, Malala, for your inspiring words. It was an honour to host you in our House — which I hope you’ll now consider your House, too,” Prime Minister Trudeau said in a tweet post-ceremony.
She received a parliamentary standing ovation, where all the parliamentarians stood and clapped for her. Yousafzai came to fame for advocating girls’ education in Pakistan. While there, she was shot in the head and neck by the terrorist group known as the Taliban.
Recently, she was the recipient of the highest honour provided by United Nations, entitled the “Messenger of Peace”.
In her award speech for the UN Messenger of Peace honour, Yousafzai said, “”I stood here on this stage almost three and a half years ago… and I told the world that education is the basic human right of every girl…Once you educate girls, you change the whole community, you change the whole society.”
UN chief, Antonio Guterres, said, “It is an enormous pleasure to have you as our Messenger of Peace.”