Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced as key speaker at IIFMENA Conference

SHARJAH, 11th October, 2016 — Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, will be a key speaker at the second ‘Investing in the Future’, IIFMENA, conference in Sharjah.

The conference, entitled, ‘Building the Resilience of Women and Girls in the Arab Region’ is being organised by The Big Heart Foundation, TBHF, a Sharjah-based international humanitarian body dedicated to aiding vulnerable people worldwide. The event, being conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women, is being held in Sharjah on October 19th and 20th.

Held under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of TBHF and Chairperson of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, the IIFMENA conference will provide a platform for engaging discussions highlighting the need to incorporate women and young girls into decision-making through economic empowerment, paying attention to their specific needs in education, skills-training and employment.

The two-day forum will bring together government officials, representatives of international and non-governmental organisations, advocates of gender equality, academics and a number of experts and media personalities from across the world.

Underlining the significance of bringing Malala Yousafzai as a key speaker at the event, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of Salam Ya Seghar, a TBHF initiative, said, “Malala is a role model for girls and women across the world. Her fight against the oppressive forces creating roadblocks for female education and empowerment is one of the bravest the world has ever seen. Her determination and insistence in the process, to the extent of being shot for her cause, not only leaves an imprint on her nation and society, but on ours and on societies across the world.”

Commenting on her participation in the conference, Malala expressed her delight for being given the opportunity to talk about the challenges that face girls’ access to education in her country. She highlighted the importance of empowering girls to fulfill their wishes and effectively contribute to developing their communities and getting involved in the development process. She stressed that the impressive presence of international attendees at the conference will allow her to make the voices of her same-aged counterparts heard in order to ensure a better future for them.