Education, extremism and politics: Malala in conversation with David Letterman


OXFORD: David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix latest episode featured Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai.

Malala who entered the show to a standing ovation discussed gender equality, extremism and the importance of education with the late-night talk show legend.

“We have to fight not just against the extremists but against the ideology that does not accept women as equal to men, that does not accept that women have a right to an education, that does not accept that women have the right to do a job, to decide our own future; we have to fight against this ideology whether it exists in the mountains of Pakistan or in big cities like New York, Washington or anywhere,” the activist said.

She went on to present a solution to this problem: “To fix this, governments need to invest more money into education. Business people and members of society need to start thinking about investing in girls and their education. We just need an ambition and intention. What to do then is easy.”

The activist added that it ‘bothers’ her that “leaders talk about eradicating extremism and ending poverty and then they ignore education.”

“That’s the first thing you need to do. You need to give education to the future generation,” she asserted.

The show which opened with the Nobel Prize winner giving Letterman and prospective students a personal tour of Oxford University which she is currently attending kept switching to clips of her life at the university.

““I am proud of my college and encourage students to apply,” said Malala who began her undergraduate studies in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) last October.

“I don’t really want them [prospective students] to ask me about personal things. Maybe one or two questions, that’s ok, but I do not want the tour to be focused on that,” she explained.

When asked by Letterman if she had aspirations to hold political positions, the 20-year-old replied, “No, to be honest people just assume that if you study PPE at Oxford then you are going to go into politics but that’s not true. There are some politicians who have studied this course such as David Cameron and Benazir Bhutto.”

Regarding what she thinks about Benazir, Malala said, “She’s an inspiration. She proved that women not just in Pakistan but around the world can be leaders.”

On Taliban , Malala said Taliban knew education can empower women. “They did not want that. They could not accept women as equal.”

When asked what would happen had she not been shot, Malala said, “I would still have been campaigning for girls education.”

“I did not realise how beautiful Swat was until I moved to the UK and looked out the window and asked where the mountains were,” she further said.

“I haven’t been back to Swat since I was attacked. Unfortunately, it’s been a very difficult time. I tried to go several times but the time was never right. I have received a lot of support in my country. There is this list for change. People want to see a change in their country. I am already doing work there but I want my feet to touch that land.”


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