Father of Malala inspires all at Oxford Brookes

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Mr Ziauddin Yousafzai

The father of Malala Yousafzai, the young woman famous for campaigning for the education of girls in Pakistan, recently met Brookes students and shared his hopes for the future of education at a visit to the University earlier this month (11 February) for the Oxford Human Rights Festival.

The Festival, in its fourteenth year, raises awareness of human rights and conflict through the arts and took place earlier this month highlighting a diverse range of issues impacting the UK and the world. It did so through a selection of animation, drama, music, talks, workshops and films.

Ziauddin Yousafzai, a Pakistani diplomat, introduced one of the films, the powerful He Named Me Malala, which was screened in partnership with Oxford Brookes University Documentary Club and The Malala Fund. It tells the story of his daughter Malala, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 after campaigning for the education of young women. Miraculously, she survived and the film documents her journey. 

It was a great pleasure to visit Oxford Brookes University to get a glimpse of the Oxford Human Rights Festival. I was moved by the traditional hospitality and warm welcome I received from the students and staff of the University.

Ziauddin Yousafzai

In the University’s packed-out John Henry Brookes Lecture Theatre, Mr Yousafzai introduced the film and afterwards took part in an inspiring Q&A session with eager members of the audience.

Speaking during the evening Mr Yousafzai said: “If you concentrate on quality education you will have a generation who love peace and harmony. You can inspire your child - your children learn not from what you teach, but from what you do. Education for a girl is not simply to read and write. It is emancipation." 

When asked if he had any advice for Brookes students, he said that “education was the best way to pursue your dreams” and students should “believe in themselves and consistently pursue the aims and objectives which they have set for themselves.”

Brookes students filmed an interview with Ziauddin Yousafzai on the evening and you can watch the video they produced on the Brookes TV YouTube channel.

The festival was organised by students from Oxford Brookes’ Development and Emergency Practice and Applied Architectural Design Masters programmes as well as BA Film Studies students.

Reflecting on his visit Mr Yousafzai gave his warm wishes to the University: “It was a great pleasure to visit Oxford Brookes University to get a glimpse of the Oxford Human Rights Festival. I was moved by the traditional hospitality and warm welcome I received from the students and staff of the University. The audience at the film were very supportive and their interest and warm response to the film gave me great hope. The hope that one day we will see every child in every part of the world having access to free, quality and safe education. I extend my sincere good wishes and prayers to all at Oxford Brookes.”

He Named Me Malala will be available on Digital HD and DVD from Monday (29 February) and will air on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday 1 March at 9.00pm. Worldwide more than 60 million girls are not in school today. 

The Malala Fund’s goal is to enable all girls to complete 12 years of free, safe, quality education. It works with partners all over the world to help empower girls and amplify their voices, by investing in local education leaders and programmes and advocating for more resources and safe schools for every child. For more information visit www.malala.org/

More about the Oxford Brookes Documentary Club can be found on their website.