Malala to become honorary Canadian citizen


OTTAWA: Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will receive her honorary Canadian citizenship in Ottawa next week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says the presentation will take place April 12, when the 19-year-old Pakistani woman will also address Parliament.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper was to have presented the award in Toronto on Oct. 22, 2014. But the event was cancelled because that was the day a gunman attacked Parliament Hill after killing a soldier at the National War Memorial.

Yousafzai became an international symbol for girls rights after surviving a 2012 attack by a Taliban gunman, who shot her in the head while she was riding a bus home from school in Pakistan.

Trudeau’s office says he wants to discuss “girls  empowerment through education and how they can actively contribute to the sustainable development of their communities and countries.”

Yousafzai is one of six people to have been awarded honorary Canadian citizenship, joining Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, and the Aga Khan.

“The people of Canada are leading the world in their response to the refugee crisis,” Yousafzai said in a statement.

“I am honoured by Parliament s invitation and look forward to visiting this great nation of heroes.”