On 9 March, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, took part in the Crans Montana Women’s Forum Special Programme, dedicated to “Fighting Poverty and the issue of Malnutrition”.
During the event, the Director-General presented the Crans Montana “Prix de la Fondation 2013” to Malala Yousufzai. Uddin Yousufzai, Malala Yousufzai’s father, received the Prize on behalf of his daughter.
“We are all deeply moved by the courage of Malala, a young girl who was brutally attached for claiming her right, and the right of other girls, to education,” said the Director-General. “I am personally deeply impressed by her commitment to education. Even after she was attacked, Malala continued in her fight. Her commitment does not go unheard. She is and will continue to be a role model for girls and women around the world”.
“It was very encouraging to witness the rallying of people in Pakistan and around the world around Malala,” continued the Director-General.
The government of Pakistan showed its support by committing more funds to education, and particularly to girls' education.
On 10 December 2012, the Government of Pakistan and UNESCO organized a solidarity event in support of Malala and girls' right to education with the President of Pakistan. Thanks to the Government of Pakistan, a fund in the amount of USD10 million has been established to support girls education in Pakistan and other countries in the region.
The event is part of the Crans Montana Forum on Africa, held in Brussels from 6 to 9 March. It brought together Heads of State and Government, Ministers, International Organizations and the private sector from all over the world. The Director-General highlighted the importance of the role of women, especially rural women, in achieving food security, by generating income, and improving their livelihoods and overall well-being.
“We believe that the empowerment of women is an accelerator for growth and the sustainable way out of the food crisis,” said the Director-General, highlighting UNESCO’s work in the field of education and teacher training. The Director-General referred to the Organization’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education as focusing on improving girls and women’s access to secondary education and on women’s literacy, with a special emphasis on disadvantaged girls and women in rural areas.