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Girl who survived Taliban attack celebrates 16th birthday with UN speech

Friday - 7/12/2013, 5:00pm  ET

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls has celebrated her 16th birthday today with a speech at the United Nations -- where she called on world leaders to provide free compulsory schooling for every child.

Malala Yousafzai (mah-LAH'-lah YOO'-suhf-zeye) was making her first public speech since the attack last October.

Speaking to nearly 1,000 youth leaders from over 100 countries, Malala called for "a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism." She said, "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."

Malala called herself just one of thousands of victims of the Taliban. And she said the bullet that entered the left side of her forehead last October -- which the extremists thought would silence her -- had not dimmed her ambitions of promoting peace, education and prosperity.

She said she wasn't there to speak of "personal revenge against the Taliban" -- but instead to "speak about the right of education for every child." And she said extremists kill students -- especially girls -- and destroy schools because they are afraid of the power of education and the power of women.

The United Nations designated today "Malala Day." But she said the day belongs to "every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights."

%@AP Links

200-w-33-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with sound of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Malala Yousafzai)--The Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls is calling on world leaders to provide free schooling for every child. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports. ((opens with actuality and applause)) (12 Jul 2013)

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