GSE student meets youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   Sep 29, 2015

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Fauzia Rahman, a doctoral candidate in the Global Studies in Education program, poses with Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The two met at an Aug. 30 event in Washington, D.C.

As a doctoral student in the Global Studies in Education program, Fauzia Rahman has been given many unique chances to pursue critical research on girls’ education. One such opportunity was an invitation to attend an event hosted by Voice of America’s Deewa Radio in honor of the world’s youngest Nobel laureate and global spokesperson for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai.

Students, journalists, and academics took part in an informal dialogue with Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, during an intimate Aug. 30 gathering at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Topics included the state of girls’ education worldwide and the ongoing work of the Malala Fund. Rahman conversed briefly with Yousafzai and her father about her recent ethnographic study with children in a girls’ government school in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Rahman said the event and brief encounter with Yousafzai offered a rare insight into how the role of young activists can guide the conversation about education and change during a time when children in the Global South are facing massive global crises.

"There are a lot of voices out there that we haven't been listening to, and they have something to say."
- Doctoral student Fauzia Rahman

“Now more than ever we are in need of critical global research that incorporates the voices of children and youth,” said Rahman. “This segment of society brings valuable perspectives into our global conversation about education, global sustainability, democracy, and social justice.”

Rahman added that her research focuses on giving children a voice.

“I think Malala is a start, but she’s not an end. For a lot of us in education and those of us in the U.S. and Europe, I don’t think we get the whole picture. What I’m hoping to do is give a bigger picture that brings in more voices. There are a lot of voices out there that we haven’t been listening to, and they have something to say. That’s where I hope to have some sort of contribution,” Rahman said.