Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest honorary citizen of Canada after she was awarded the title during an honorary citizenship ceremony in Ottawa.
“I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country,” CNN quoted Malala as saying during a speech to the House of Commons, where she got a standing ovation from parliamentarians.
“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,” she added.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented a certificate along with a flag to Malala which documented her citizenship.
“Thank you, Malala, for your inspiring words. It was an honor to host you in our House — which I hope you’ll now consider you?re House, too,” Trudeau said in a tweet after the event.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had recently appointed Malala a UN Messenger of Peace to promote girls education.
The appointment took place more than four years after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on her school bus in 2012.
At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years.
She was also the youngest person to win the Nobel peace prize in 2014 when she was 17.
“You are not only a hero, but you are a very committed and generous person,” Guterres told Yousafzai.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric had earlier announced that the 19-year-old education advocate will focus worldwide attention on the need for all girls to go to school.
Yousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate in 2014 when she was recognised for her advocacy of the right of all children to education.
Her campaign led to a Taliban assassination attempt near her home in Swat that left her severely wounded.
She went to Britain for medical treatment and now goes to school there.