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Pakistani Activist Malala Yousafzai Becomes Honourary Canadian

OTTAWA – Global youth leader and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, was bestowed with a honourary Canadian citizenship.

Yousafzai was greeted on the steps of the Centre Block by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as a parade of dignitaries, cabinet ministers and diplomats inside the rotunda beneath the Peace Tower.

Moments later, Trudeau presented her with a certificate documenting her as a honourary Canadian, only the sixth person to receive the honour and the youngest ever. He also presented her with the flag from atop the tower, reported News 1130..

Trudeau called Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out about girls’ rights to an education, an inspiration. “The violence you survived at the hands of the Taliban didn’t deter you as it would have for so many others. Rather, you stood even stronger in the face of oppression, your passion for your justice only intensified.”

The 19-year-old, known to many as simply “Malala,” is in Ottawa to receive honorary citizenship from the federal government as an acknowledgment of her tireless work in the name of girls’ education. “It’s not just honourary citizenship of Canada, but it is also being Canada’s friend and I warmly accept it. And I want to thank Canada for its passion, for girls’ education, for its passion for humanity for refugees and for standing up for women’s rights and for peace.”

She also addressed MPs and senators in a joint session of Parliament, becoming in the process the youngest person ever to that as well.

The pomp and pageantry comes more than two years after an initial plan to honour Yousafzai was interrupted by a gunman who took the life of a Canadian soldier and stormed Parliament Hill before dying in a hail of gunfire.

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