I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (Little, Brown and Company; 2013), co-written by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, has been chosen as the Common Reading Program selection for academic year 2016-17 at Providence College.
The book, which describes a young girl’s heroic fight for girls’ education in a Taliban-controlled region of Pakistan, will be read by the members of the Class of 2020 and all new transfer students prior to the start of fall classes. Students will participate in discussion groups led by faculty, staff, and other students during New Student Orientation.
Yousafzai was raised in Swat Valley, Pakistan. Her father, who owned a school, encouraged his daughter to read and write despite the unaccepting society that surrounded them. Yousafzai used this upbringing to find her own voice for educational advocacy.
Yousafzai’s quest for girls’ education was first made public when she was writing for BBC Urdu through her pen name, Gul Makai. When she was 15 years old this bravery led to a personal attack by the Taliban. Yousafzai was shot in the head while riding the bus home from school in 2012 and miraculously survived.
After recovering, Yousafzai continued to campaign for girls’ education. She received the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2013 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17, making her the youngest recipient. She was short-listed for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. She previously had received the National Youth Peace Prize in Pakistan in 2011.
After her recovery, Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, cofounded the Malala Fund. The non-profit organization invests in local organizations that provide quality secondary education for girls and advocates for policy changes in support of girls’ education.
Yousafzai will visit Providence this summer to continue her advocacy. She will make an exclusive Northeast appearance on July 28 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in a presentation entitled “An Evening with Malala Yousafzai.”
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban is the seventh book in the College’s Common Reading Program, which began as a pilot initiative in the 2010-11 academic year. The program aspires to strengthen the academic community, create opportunities for intellectual engagement, and inspire depth of learning.