Justin Trudeau Presents Malala Yousafzai With Honorary Canadian Citizenship

Malala and Justin Trudeau

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize for her feminist activism has just become the youngest recipient of an honorary Canadian Citizenship.

While in the United States, Donald Trump continues put up walls and obstacles between the U.S. and the rest of the world, Canada seems to have become the world leader for inclusive and progressive action on an international scale.

At the tender age of 19, Yousafzai was presented with the honor by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a ceremony in Ottawa held on Wednesday, according to CNN. Yousafzai also gave a speech to the Canadian House of Commons, which resulted in a standing ovation from the members, saying:

“I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country. While I will always be a proud Pashtun and a proud citizen of Pakistan, I’m grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes.”

Trudeau presented Yousafzai with a citizenship certificate and a Canadian flag, calling her “the newest and possibly bravest citizen of Canada.” The Prime Minister then shared his sentiments about Yousafzai on Twitter:

“Thank you, Malala, for your inspiring words. It was an honor to host you in our House — which I hope you’ll now consider your House, too.”

Malala Yousafzai wasn’t too star struck by the ceremony, using the opportunity to encourage the Canadian parliament to help fund education for girls worldwide by using their political influence. Yousafzai also complimented Canada’s treatment of refugees.

Yousafzai was originally meant to receive her honorary Canadian citizenship in October 2014, according to the BBC, but the event was cancelled due to an attack on the Canadian Parliament by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, and the death of ceremonial guard, Nathan Cirillo.

Only five others have received honorary Canadian citizenship, and Malala finds herself in some extraordinary company, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aga Khan, Raoul Wallenberg, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Yousafzai also took the opportunity to show off her sense of humor by poking some light fun at Canada’s young and handsome Prime Minister, according to The Indian Times, saying:

“We have heard so much about Prime Minister Trudeau but one thing has surprised me: people are always talking about how young he is. They say that he’s the second-youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history. He does yoga. He has tattoos. And a lot more…

“When I was coming here, everyone was telling me, like, ‘Shake prime minister’s hand and let us know how he looks in reality.’ And, people were just so excited about meeting Trudeau. I don’t think anyone cared about the Canadian honorary citizenship.”

You can watch a video of Yousafzai’s speech on Mr. Trudeau’s Facebook page, where the Prime Minister had posted a live stream of the event.


Featured image via Justin Trudeau Twitter

About Sarah MacManus 47 Articles
Progressive thinker, political nerd, factoid geek, and author.

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