Activist Malala Yousafzai has fought for equal educational opportunities for girls for years. After being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan in 2012, she continued to bravely campaign for all girls to get a quality education. Now, Malala has completed her own degree, graduating from Oxford University in England.
It’s A Celebration
After almost three years at Oxford, Malala recently received her degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the famed university. With the coronavirus keeping everyone in quarantine, the traditional graduation ceremonies at Oxford (like many schools) were canceled. However, the activist still managed to have fun and celebrate her great achievement with loved ones. In a few pictures shared on Instagram, Malala highlighted a small celebration with her family in front of a special graduation cake. She also took part in a “trashing,” an Oxford tradition where students are covered with food and confetti after completing exams. Even though her graduation year wasn’t quite what she expected, Malala still expressed “joy and gratitude” in receiving her degree after all of her hard work.
Malala recently took part in a special online graduation ceremony, “Dear Class of 2020,” hosted by YouTube alongside Barack & Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, BTS, and Bill Gates. In a moving speech, the activist shared that she could have never anticipated her final year at Oxford ending the way it did. “When I pictured my last few months at Oxford, I saw myself working in the library, studying day and night, and in the end celebrating our achievements with my friends, but now I’m in my house, stuck in my room while my brothers interrupt and annoy me,” she admitted. However, Malala encouraged herself and her fellow graduates in the class of 2020 to be optimistic about the future ahead. “While this is not the ending we imagined, our education will outlast any part of the ceremony,” she said.
Malala began studying at Oxford in October, 2017 after she was accepted by one of the university’s colleges, Lady Margaret Hall. The college boasts several well-known alumni, including Dominic Raab and Michael Gove, who currently serve in Britain’s political cabinet. Malala’s idol, the late Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s first female prime minister, also attended the college. In 2018, Malala expressed her happiness and gratitude for being able to attend the university in a piece for British Vogue and that she would continue to fight for other girls to have the same opportunity. “I know how lucky I am to have access to an incredible education, lectures, art, sport, and new perspectives,” she wrote then. “I am so pleased that I spoke out and for my years of campaigning that have followed. Now 21, I am able to study at a prestigious university—but I want to live in a world where every girl is able to weigh her future career options in the way I hope to when I graduate.”
In the midst of Malala getting her degree, she also had her hands full with running her own non-profit organization. in 2013, she co-founded the Malala Fund with her father, Ziauddin, to help in the fight for girls’ education. In June 2018, the organization was able to secure a $2.9 billion commitment from the G7 countries and the World Bank. Coroprations even invested, with Apple contributing funding and technology and assisting with curriculum and policy research for the nonprofit. Needless to say, Malala was busy outside of school, as well.
The Future Ahead
In the future, Malala will continue to head up the Malala Fund alongside her father and her team. With Malala’s passion for education and activism experience, others see her specialty degree being the perfect launchpad for a political career for the young leader.
Though many will speculate what Malala will do next, the new graduate isn’t quite sure herself. For now, she wants to enjoy the fruits of her labor in the comking weeks. On her Instagram story, she shared that she is currently unemployed, and is looking for Netflix recommendations. “I don’t know what’s ahead. For now, it will be Netflix, reading, and sleep,” Malala said to her followers. Certainly after all of her hardwork, Malala, too, deserves a break.
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