On Saturday the 8th of October, Dudley College hosted one of a series of events the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been delivering during his week-long visit to the Dudley diocese. Under the title: The Power of Hope, Archbishop Justin met with Malala Yousafzai, the 19 year old Nobel peace Prize winner, who survived an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen four years ago when living in the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan, when they sought to silence her for her passionate support for female education.
Over 300 invited guests, many of whom were from local schools, faith communities as well as our own Dudley Sixth learners heard Archbishop Justin and Malala speak about their commitment to creating a society that fosters tolerance and understanding whilst acknowledging a huge diversity of opinions and beliefs exist. Malala urged the audience to get to know people of faiths and backgrounds other than their own, as the best way of counteracting division in society.
Drawing on her life before she came to the UK for medical treatment at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital, Malala spoke passionately about her desire to get an education and go beyond the traditional role that the Taliban were ascribing for her. Thanking her father for his support in “not clipping her wings” and supporting her aspirations, she implored the audience to empower themselves by making the most of their education and fighting for every young person around the world to get this basic human right. Wryly commenting that she was the only Nobel Peace prize winner to still fight with her younger brothers, Malala shared her hopes for the future, which on a personal level included gaining a place at university and continuing to fight for the rights of children everywhere.
Both the Archbishop and Malala responded to range of questions from the audience which included their thoughts about peace in the Middle East and what aspects of their own lives gave them most happiness.