Malala Yousafzai will become Canada’s sixth honorary citizen today, a rare gesture of respect for her bravery in overcoming a brutal Taliban attack to become a champion for girls’ education around the world.
The 19-year-old Pakistan-born Nobel Peace Prize recipient will attend a formal ceremony in Ottawa before she delivers a 15-minute address in the House of Commons.
The speech is expected to begin at about 12 p.m. ET. CBC.ca will have live coverage of Yousafzai’s arrival on the Hill and her address to Parliament.
Yousafzai was targeted by Taliban at age 15 for speaking out on the right for girls to learn and attend school.
She survived the attack by a masked gunman to become an international activist. After moving with her family to Birmingham, England, she founded the non-profit Malala Fund and co-authored the best-selling book I am Malala.
Named a co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Yousafzai was the youngest person ever to earn the distinction. She was recently appointed as a UN Messenger of Peace by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the highest honour given by the world body.
Yousafzai will have a number of meetings during her visit to Ottawa, including one with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau called Yousafzai the “best ambassador” to speak about the importance of education for girls.
“I know that she is inspiring young girls here,” she said. “I have friends who called me and said how they had the opportunity to read her history in class, and what she has done is really giving courage to our girls to really invest and be serious in their study, but also to work in terms of human rights.”
Later in the afternoon, Yousafzai will meet with interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose.