Monday, July 14, 2014

Malala Day - July 14, 2014

Today the world is celebrating Malala Day with Malala Yousafzai.  She asks that "The road to equality is long, but we will succeed if we walk it together. Please join me in raising your voice this Malala Day."

Celebrities, journalists, government officials, and motivated individuals are discussing on Twitter the important issues that Malala discusses in her book and in her work every day.  Are you joining the conversation?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Malala Calls on Global Leaders to Fund Education
250 million children are unable to read or write by the time they reach grade 4. Across the world, 57 million children are still without access to school. Today in Brussels education leaders from around the globe are speaking out for these children.

Global Partnership for Education is an international organization that focuses on supporting countries' efforts to educate children from early primary school to secondary school. The GPE is comprised of donor governments, regional and international agencies, development banks, the private sector, and civil society organizations/NGOS. The GPE held a pledging conference in 2011 and were able to raise close to $2 billion dollars from 60 partners. These pledges have allowed GPE to build, rehabilitate, and equip 52,600 classrooms and train about 300,000 teachers mostly in primary education.
Credit: Global Partnership for Education

Earlier this month Malala Yousafzai joined other leading global education advocates by supporting the GPE. As a champion for the GPE, Malala has been speaking up for the rights of children to receive an education, and urging businesses, civil societies, and governments to work together on delivering education for all. The Malala Fund also provided a grant that allowed the first ever youth delegation of 12 young education advocates to attend the Second Replenishment Conference.

The Global Partnership for Education held their second pledging conference today, June 26th, in Brussels with a goal of raising 3.5 billion dollars. Malala released a video this morning featuring children in developing countries fighting for their right to receive an education. Malala urged global leaders to work together to fund education and fulfill the promise of an education for every child.

The summit in Brussels has ended, and they have raised eight times the amount they had hoped for. The GPE received $28.5 billion in funding for the education of millions of children in more than 60 developing countries. The contributions from across the globe are a sign that education crisis awareness by activists, such as Malala, can lead to meaningful action. Today there is more hope than ever that the 57 million children without access to a school will be able to receive an education in the near future.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shiza Shahid: "There are no Superheroes, Just Us"
"There are no superheroes, just us. We are the ones we've been waiting for." These powerful words came from Shiza Shahid at the TEDxMidAtlantic 2013 conference. The theme of the conference was "Start Now", and conference organizers asked Shiza to be a featured speaker on the theme. Shiza shared three lessons that helped her begin her journey to becoming a successful social entrepreneur, and have shaped her life choices. The talk focuses on human connections, creating change in the world, and following your heart.

The presentation is a powerful introduction to the story of Malala and Shiza's friendship, from their first meeting to the origins of the Malala Fund. Shiza's voice is heavy with sorrow as she recalls the moment she learned that Malala had been shot. Yet, her sorrow turns to anger and then hope as she recounts how she realized that across the world people were protesting that a girl had been shot for going to school, and were praying and hoping for Malala's recovery. Shiza ends her speech by saying "I am Malala", and explaining how powerful of a statement that is to her.

Shiza will be the keynote speaker for the Go Big Read program, and will be giving a public speech on October 27th at Union South's Varsity Hall. This TEDxMidAtlantic talk is an indication of the enthusiasm and eloquence that Shiza will be bringing to her speech.  

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shiza Shahid, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, is Keynote Speaker for Go Big Read

In 2014, 57 million children are not enrolled in school. According to the United Nations, 53% of the children are girls, and 2/3 of the illiterate people in the world are women. Shiza Shahid is working with Malala Yousafzai to reverse this epidemic and empower girls to reach their potential through education.

 Shiza first met Malala when she was a sophomore in college at Stanford University. Shiza grew up in Pakistan just three hours from Malala's home, and when she heard about Malala's fight to keep her school open she knew that she needed to help. That summer Shiza planned a camp for Malala and 27 other girls in the capital of Pakistan. The camp's goal was to empower them to be entrepreneurs and activists. 

It was only a few years later that Malala was shot by the Taliban, and Shiza traveled to be by her side in England. While recovering in the hospital, Malala realized that she wanted to turn her tragedy into a movement that could inspire and empower girls across the world. Malala, Malala's father, and Shiza decided to create an organization with a mission to empower girls through education so that they can become agents of change in their communities. In October of 2013 the Malala Fund was officially launched. The Malala fund works with local partners around the world to help the 600 million girls in developing countries receive an education. The fund believes that education empowers girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. 

Shiza will be on campus October 27-28 to meet with small groups of students and to deliver a public talk at Varsity Hall.

Links to the Malala Fund's website, Facebook, and Twitter are below:

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Friday, June 13, 2014

2011-2012 Go Big Read Author Interviewed on Influx of Children Immigrants

NBC News reported that 47,000 children crossed the US border alone in 2013, but that number has already been surpassed in 2014 and it may go as high as 90,000. Border patrol facilities have been flooded with Central American children and many are wondering what has spurred this increase. Tom Ashbrook invited Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique's Journey, to discuss the recent influx, what is sending the children north, and what may happen to them now. 

Photo Credit: Breitbart Texas Release
Sonia discussed the increase of gang violence in Honduras, and Central America, that is compelling the children to travel to the United States and reunite with relatives. Children have to ride atop freight trains that they call "tren de la muerte" or the "train of death". Sonia rode atop the "train of death" from Honduras to the United States border twice, each trip three months long. Sonia witnessed bandits along the rails that grabbed migrant children, robbed them, raped the girls, and sometimes killed them. Sonia discussed that the majority of children have no money, and instead are only travelling with a "little scrap of paper with their relative's phone number in the U.S." 

The children are also victims to the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel. The Zetas are "kidnapping 18,000 Central Americans in Mexico every year." The Zetas prefer children since they can call the telephone number of the relative in the U.S. they are carrying with them on their scrap of paper to demand ransom. "If you don't pay, and sometimes even if you do, they will put you in a barrel of acid to dissolve you and leave no evidence. This is what parents and children are willing to face to escape the violence in their home countries." Sonia believes that children are willing to travel alone in this dangerous environment to avoid the hazardous and unpredictable conditions of their homelands.

The passion and hurt in Sonia's voice is a reminder of the powerful message of Enrique's Journey. The 2011-2012 Go Big Read book is a story that is reflecting a current crisis in Central American and the United States. We would love for your opinion or thoughts on the current situation, so feel free to comment!

The link below is the full 46 minute radio program with Guest Sonia Nazario. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Malala Yousafzai: "Girls in Nigeria are my sisters"

By now, most of us have heard the story of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram in mid-April. As outrage and demands for action have spread across the globe, Malala Yousafzai, advocate for girls' education and author of our 2014-15 Go Big Read book, sat down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour for an interview.

"I thought that 'my sisters are in prison now,'" Malala says, explaining her first thoughts on hearing about the abduction. "And I felt as if I should speak up for them, because I have a responsibility. I believe that we are sent to this earth as a community, and it's our responsibility to take care of each other. The girls in Nigeria are my sisters, and it's my responsibility that I speak up for my sisters."

She added that Boko Haram "don't really understand Islam...they are actually abusing the name of Islam, because they have forgotten that the word 'Islam' means peace. [...] They are actually afraid of the power of women. They don't want women to get empowered, to get education, and they don't want women to achieve their goals. So I think these terrorists are afraid of women, and that's why they are kidnapping women."

You can watch the full interview here.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Go Big Read selects “I Am Malala” for 2014-15

The Taliban thought bullets would silence Malala Yousafzai.

But instead they made her voice stronger, and today the teenager from Pakistan is known worldwide as a transformative advocate who embodies the power of education for girls.

Her book, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” is the latest selection for Go Big Read, UW-Madison’s common-reading program.

Go Big Read organizers encouraged the campus community to suggest titles that fit into a theme of service. Chancellor Rebecca Blank chose “I Am Malala” from the short list that a selection committee culled from nearly 200 nominated titles.

“Malala’s story offers our students and campus community a firsthand account from a part of the world that is continuously in the news,” Blank says. “Readers will connect with these experiences through her convincing description of how she became a voice of protest against the social restrictions she faced. Her story will lead our students to reflect on the opportunities they have to use their own voice in the world.”

Yousafzai begins the book, co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, by recounting the moment she was shot in the head in October 2012 on her way home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The rest of the book retraces the events that led up to that moment in a region that is one of the world’s hotspots.

“It is difficult to imagine a chronicle of a war more moving, apart from perhaps the diary of Anne Frank,” said a review in The Washington Post. Time Out New York said Yousafzai’s touching story, “will not only inform you of changing conditions in Pakistan, but inspire your rebellious spirit.”
Yousafzai was 11 when she began writing a blog anonymously for the BBC, describing life under Taliban rule from her hometown of Mingora, in the northwest region of Pakistan.

She was awarded the country’s National Peace Award in 2012, which has since been renamed the National Malala Peace Prize.She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and was recently named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She and her family now live in England, where she continues to go to school.

“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” the now 16-year-old told young leaders from 100 countries at the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York last year. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.”
Patrick McBride, associate dean for students at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and a member of the selection committee, said the story will remind readers why they can’t take their right to an education for granted.

“The rights of women, and the values of freedom, family, and education are championed by this remarkable family,” McBride says. “While the title sounds simple, when we read in the introduction of where those words are spoken, it will bring chills to the reader and become a cry for freedom around the world.”

Karen Crossley, associate director of operations for the Morgridge Center for Public Service, also served on the selection committee and says Yousafzai being close in age to most UW undergraduates will capture the attention of students.

“Malala's commitment to composing a better world defines service in a highly personal way,” Crossley says.

Planning is underway for how students, faculty and staff will use the book in classrooms and for special events associated with “I Am Malala.”

Yousafzai will be in her senior year of high school and therefore unable to come to campus, but organizers are arranging for a speaker connected to the book who will give a public talk this fall.
UW-Madison instructors interested in using the book can request a review copy here.

Copies of the book will be given to first-year students at the Chancellor's Convocation for New Students and to students using the book in their classes.

More information about the ongoing Go Big Read program and plans for this fall can be found here.

Jenny Price, UW-Madison University Communications

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