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A Woman of Substance

January 19, 2014
Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize

In a 2013 we were privileged to witness the youngest woman in the world ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This was after she survived an assassination attempt, not by one person, but by an entire regime. We know this regime as Taliban. This remarkable woman was also named as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People.”

I choose to write a bit today about one of the most remarkable people I have had the opportunity to learn about in my life. She is quickly becoming a tremendous source of courage and inspiration to people all over the world. Some have already begun to refer to her and the “Next Mother Theresa.” Her name is Malala Yousafzai.

Malala Yousufzai

Malala Yousufzai

I can tell you a lot about her because I read everything I can find about her. But today I choose to let Malala tell you about her, in her own words. I will rely on portions of her speech to the UN itself, quoting where appropriate.
“…today we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity…” calls Malala. And for the sake of today’s post, I want to zero in on two of the main causes she stands for.

Again, it is best expressed in Malala’s own words “…we call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the dignity of women and their rights is unacceptable.”
Malala believes that the change that equality of women will bring about in the world she comes from is overwhelming to those in power. She is aware that there is a type of intimidation that these big, boastful and ‘tough-men’ in power feel at the level of change that granting equality to women will give birth to…something they fear will be lost forever, something they are not willing to jeopardize.

Similarly, Malala’s voice cries out …” We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world. We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.”

And she believes that those in control of terrorizing her people are equally intimidated at the level of change they believe education can bring. And once again, from the perspective of the ruling regime, the Taliban, anything that is so strongly feared needs to be avoided and prevented.

So not only is our remarkable Malala a resounding voice for human and civil rights, she is also able to understand the viewpoint of her ‘enemies,’ of those that oppose her and threaten her very life. She understands the threat she poses as she speaks out for the waves of change and progress in her country. And she faces the hurdles with complete awareness and knowledge of the opposition that lies ahead of her. At this young age, she is courageous enough to know who she is and what her purpose in life is and is brave enough to take on whatever her future may hold. She possesses the conviction and determination that many people can live life after life, and never find.

Education Poster

I hope we can connect this sense of purpose and determination of cause toward education to what we are watching crumble before our very eyes each and every day in the violence within our schools. We have what she is willing to die for and we are letting it slip through our fingers. If for no other reason, we need to assure Malala’s purpose for the struggle she endures each and every day, is not in vain.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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