We sit in a conference room at the UN on the day before Malala Yousafzai's birthday -- hundreds of youth leaders from around the world, between the ages of 18 and 25 attending an orientation session to prepare us for July 12.
Malala stands wearing an old shawl of Benazir Bhutto's. She glows in pink, amidst the darker colors of the UN members around her. I cannot imagine how tired she must be -- at 16 years of age, shuffled around the world to meet people who are drawn to her, not only because they honor her, but also because their egos want a piece of the symbol she has become.
Her words resonate because, like Ban Ki Moon she has lived the value of education, not just "studied it in a textbook." Malala has been called one of the most courageous girls in the world. And when you hear her speak and simultaneously reflect on her remarkable story, which is only continuing to evolve, it becomes clear that this title is fitting. Malala's courage is a global gift; already it has inspired millions of people around the world to stand up for the importance of education, and during the UN Youth Assembly it inspires hundreds of young people in the audience to stand together to clap for something I believe we will all raise our hands for again and again into the future.