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Malala Day: UN Youth Takeover

This article originally appeared on the UN Global Education First Initiative site in June 2013.

By Jamira Burley, Member, Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group

If there was ever a time for world leaders to step aside and allow for the next generation of change-makers to make their mark, that time will be on July 12th. Young people from all over the world will descend on New York as the United Nations Youth Take Over for Malala Day kicks off. While the world is experiencing its largest population of young people under the age of 25, youth every where are taking a stand on the issues that matter the most to our generation, such as demanding education for every young person. We as young people see education as a right that is currently not being met for nearly 57 million children who are out of school.

Less than a year ago, I had the honor of being selected as one of 15 young people from around the world to be part of the UN Global Education First Initiative, Youth Advocacy Group. The YAG is comprised of youth leaders who are working in both grassroots efforts and on the global stage to increase access to education, improve quality of education and foster global citizenship. We consult a wide network and hail from fifteen different countries, including Australia, Cameroon, Chile, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Jamaica, Lebanon, Malawi, Moldova, the Philippines, the USA, Serbia, the UK, and Zambia.

I, along with my fellow YAG members, have the honor of helping to organize a day of action and celebration for Malala, a young woman who risked her life to advocate on behalf of universal education and girls’ rights. As a result of her bravery, the Taliban boarded her school bus and shot her and two other young girls in 2012. But that didn’t slow Malala down; currently she is back in school and continues to fight for every child’s right to education.

What is important to keep in mind is that Malala represents millions of young people who are turned away and pushed out daily from their educational institutions or simply don’t have access at all. What does it say about the world we live in, when young people are denied their right to learn? Education is one of the smartest investments that any country can make because it’s an effective solution to preventing the world’s largest generation of youth from unemployment, poor health, civil unrest, child marriage, and other vulnerabilities.

Wait no more; the time to stand with Malala and every other child like her is now. Sign the petition today!

Leading up to Malala Day, the Youth Advocacy Group helped produce, “The Youth Resolution: The Education We Want”, an outcomes document that was circulated worldwide and that received feedback from nearly 40 countries. We were able to get a true representation of youth voices around the world to hear what we demand in response to the education emergency. This document, along with the petition, will be presented on Malala Day to world leaders at the United Nations.

Get involved
- Learn more about Malala Day
- Sign Malala's petition
- Read about Malala Day preparations in Burundi


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