Jolie praises Taliban victim Malala
Published 05/04/2013 | 05:26
Angelina Jolie has paid a glowing tribute to the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, introducing Malala Yousafzai to the Women in the World summit via a new video from Britain.
"Today I'm going to announce the happiest moment of my life," the 15-year-old said, at one point shyly covering her face with her hands. She said a new school in Pakistan would be built for 40 girls. "Let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls," she said.
Jolie committed 200,000 dollars (£130,000) to the new Malala's Fund for girls' education in Pakistan.
Malala was already known for her activism when she was shot in the head in October by Taliban attackers angered by her outspokenness in a deeply conservative society.
She was brought to Britain for treatment, including skull reconstruction. She was released last month and has started attending school there. She was shortlisted for Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2012 and recently signed a deal to write her memoir.
"Here's what they accomplished," Jolie said of Malala's attackers. "They shot her at point-blank range in the head - and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger."
Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency, said Malala's father had shown his daughter in the hospital a poll that said she was the sixth most influential person in the world, and that US president Barack Obama was seventh. But the teenager said she did not think people should be categorised like that.
"So we can learn a lot from this girl," Jolie said with a grin.
Jolie was not the only Hollywood star on stage at the conference. Meryl Streep was there to honoUr another activist, Inez McCormack of Northern Ireland, who died in January of cancer. At the first Women in the World summit three years ago, Streep had played Ms McCormack in a short play called Seven, with Ms McCormack watching from the audience.
The conference continues on Friday with a speech by former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Eva Longoria and Tom Hanks.