First lady Michelle Obama welcomes Pakistani teen shot by Taliban

Oct. 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan last year, was greeted at the White House Friday by first lady Michelle Obama.

"President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama today welcomed Malala Yousafzai to the Oval Office to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan," the White House said in a statement. "The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala's courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams. As the first lady has said, 'Investing in girls' education is the very best thing we can do, not just for our daughters and granddaughters, but for their families, their communities, and their countries.'"

"Across the globe there are girls who will one day lead nations, if only we afford them the chance to choose their own destinies," President Obama said in his proclamation to mark the International Day of the Girl. "And on every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream."

Yousafzai earlier said she's not disappointed about not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize because she wants to "deserve" it.

The 16-year-old was bypassed for the award Friday, with the Nobel Committee presenting it instead to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, CNN reported.

Yousafzai was shot and critically injured by the Taliban in Pakistan last year for advocating education for women, a campaign she began at age 11.

Despite the attack, the teen said she wants to continue her work.

"I would feel proud, when I would work for education, when I would have done something, when I would be feeling confident to tell people, 'Yes! I have built that school; I have done that teachers' training, I have sent that (many) children to school,'" she said.

"Then if I get the Nobel Peace Prize, I will be saying, Yeah, I deserve it, somehow."

Her goals don't end there.

"I want to become a Prime Minister of Pakistan," she said. "Because through politics I can serve my whole county. I can be the doctor of the whole country."

Her country has already recognized Yousafzai's work. In 2011, Pakistan awarded her the National Peace Prize for ignoring Taliban decrees banning education for girls.

On Thursday, the European Parliament awarded her the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

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