Culture & Lifestyle / Malala Yousafzai Becomes Honorary Canadian Citizen

Malala Yousafzai Becomes Honorary Canadian Citizen

Culture & Lifestyle Apr 13, 2017

Malala Yousafzai finally becomes an honorary Canadian citizen and slays her speech at Parliament Hill. 

The long road to honouring 19-year-old Malala Yousafzai came to an end yesterday, nearly two years after the initial plan was put on hold due to the 2014 shooting in Ottawa.

The accolade is a symbol of acknowledgement for her relentless work in advancing and ensuring girls’ right to education around the world.

Malala Yousafzai
The avid human rights activist accepts her honorary Canadian citizenship from Trudeau. Photo Credit:

Yousafzai was welcomed at the Hill by the Prime Minister and his wife along with other dignitaries, cabinet ministers and diplomats.

Trudeau introduced the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate as “the newest and possibly bravest citizens of Canada.”

“As the world prayed while she recovered, we were reminded that a bullet is no match for an idea; that in the face of evil, what is right and what is good will always prevail,” Trudeau said.

Malala Yousafzai Trudeau
Malala stands proudly with Trudeau and her parents by her side. Photo Credit:

During the ceremony, Yousafzai urged Canada and the Canadian Parliament to stand up for girls’ education worldwide and appealed for action on the rights of refugees as well.

“The world needs leadership based on serving humanity, not based on how many weapons you have,” she said. “Canada can take that lead.”

“I stand with girls, as someone who knows how it feels to have your right of education taken away and your dreams threatened,” said Yousafzai. “I know where I stand. If you stand with me, I ask you to seize every opportunity for girls’ education over the next year.”

Malala Trudeau
Malala addresses the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo Credit:

The Pakistani human rights activist had three clear requests in her speech, which lasted under an hour: for Canada to make girls’ education a key part of the 2018 G7 presidency, to prioritize all girls and boys (including refugees) getting access to a full 12 years of education, and to leverage Canada’s influence in addressing the global funding gap for education.

“We have a responsibility to improve our world. When future generations read about us in their books or on their iPads or whatever the next innovation will be, I don’t want them to be shocked that 130 million girls could not go to school and we did nothing,” Yousafzai said. “I don’t want them to be shocked we did not stand up for child refugees, as millions of families fled their homes. I don’t want us to be known for failing them.”

Malala Trudeau
The honorary citizenship adds to many firsts for Malala. Photo Credit:

Yousafzai was also appointed as a United Nations Messenger of Peace earlier this week, making her the youngest person to hold the title.

Yousafzai is now the sixth and youngest person ever to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. Others who have received the honour include Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the 14th Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Aga Khan.

Main Image Photo Credit:

Nomaan Khan

Nomaan Khan


After spending some time in a completely different field, Nomaan decided to drop it all and switch to Mohawk College to pursue his longtime interest in the world of Journalism. His experience working in multimedia platforms has helped him develop exceptional skills in thinking on his feet, being ...


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