"Your motto and your stand, welcome to Canada, is more than a headline or a hashtag. It is the spirit of humanity that every single one of us would yearn for if our family was in crisis. I pray that you continue to open your homes, your hearts, to the world's most defenceless children and families and I hope your neighbours will follow your example."
Malala Yousafzai addressed the Canadian Parliament yesterday after finally making the trip to Canada that was originally scheduled for 2014. Her father Ziauddin and mother Toor Pekai were there in Parliament for the speech. Yousafzai received honorary Canadian citizenship during the visit.
On October 22, 2014, Malala Yousafzai was supposed to be honoured in Toronto for her heroic work promoting the rights of girls around the world. The plans for Yousafzai were cancelled due to the shooting at the National War Memorial near the Parliament Building in Ottawa.
Yousafzai brought her message to Canada on empowering girls and women in the country and around the world.
"While it may be true that he (Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) is young for a head of government, I would like to tell the children of Canada: you do not have to be as old as Prime Minister Trudeau to be a leader! I used to think I had to wait to be an adult to lead. But I've learned that even a child's voice can be heard around the world. Young women of Canada, step forward and raise your voices. The next time I visit, I hope I see more of you filling these seats in Parliament. Men of Canada, be proud feminists. And help women get equal opportunities as men."
Malala Yousafzai's full speech to Parliament (CBC News)
She is the 6th person to receive honourary Canadian citizenship along with Swedish humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust; former South African leader Nelson Mandela; the 14th Dalai Lama; former Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi; and spiritual leader, the Aga Khan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented Yousafzai with a certificate and Canadian flag in the Parliament library. Yousafzai is the youngest person to address the Canadian Parliament.
Yousafzai started her time in Ottawa with a visit to Ottawa's Ridgemont High School. Yousafzai and Trudeau met over girls' education and empowering women and communities. She also met with interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose in Ottawa.
You can follow her activities on Twitter through the feeds listed here:
photo credit: Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press
video credit: CBC News