Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was awarded a prestigious honorary fellowship by Oxford University’s Linacre College.
Malala becomes the first Pakistani to receive the honour, the Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP) announced today.
The Malala Fund co-founder is now among the list of renowned figures including Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse and the first Speaker of the National Assembly of the Parliament of South Africa Dr Frene Ginwala who have also been awarded honorary fellowships by the college.
Speaking at the ceremony, the 25-year-old girls’ education activist shared fond memories of visiting her friends at Linacre College and lauded the impact of the OPP.
She spoke with pride about how the dream of the OPP has now come to fruition, transforming the lives of students and serving as a beacon of hope for students in Pakistan.
Marking a momentous occasion for both Linacre College and Malala, Principal Dr Nick Brown praised Malala’s efforts in empowering women through her unwavering commitment to education, noting that “Malala is globally recognised for her extraordinary work in support of women’s education, particularly for those from the least advantaged backgrounds”.
Dr Brown said that the author of I Am Malala was proud to join a college which is working so hard in support of the same issues.
He spoke of the history of Linacre College and its commitment to inclusivity, having been established to provide opportunities to students facing financial constraints in affording collegiate memberships.
Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai, also present at the occasion, expressed his joy at his daughter’s achievement.
“It is a huge honour for my daughter to receive this recognition. I could see the joy on Malala’s face when she received the honour, and as a proud father, I am extremely happy for her. I know that she will use this opportunity to further expand her work and collaborate with others to find solutions to the challenges in access to education for girls,” he said.
Dr Talha Jamal Pirzada, a Linacre College fellow and co-founder of the OPP, provided an overview of the OPP’s activities in the past year in promoting education and fostering collaboration between Oxford and Pakistan.
He added that the OPP has become a beacon of hope for thousands of Pakistani students aspiring to pursue higher education at top institutions worldwide.
“As we celebrate Malala’s extraordinary achievements, let us recognise the transformative power of education in shaping lives, communities, and nations. Let us also reaffirm our commitment to investing in the education of young girls and women, particularly in STEM subjects, to build a prosperous and equitable future for generations to come,” Dr Pirzada said.