The Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for campaigning for education for girls has spent her 16th birthday on Friday addressing a UN convention in New York.
Malala Yousafzai was accompanied by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at the special youth meeting at the United Nations headquarters in the city.
Despite speaking in public for the first time since being shot by the Pakistani Taliban while on her way to school in Pakistan's Swat Valley in October last year, Malala remained remarkably poised and composed during her impassioned speech.
"They thought that their bullets would silence me. The terrorists thought they would stop my ambition. They failed", she said.
"Weakness, fear and hopelessness died that day. Hope, courage and strength was born."
Since her ordeal Malala has continued to campaign for girls education and has been backed by the likes of Mr Brown and actress Angelina Jolie, who has also nominated Malala for a Nobel Prize.
During her speech in New York, Malala called for more to be done to educate the estimated 57 million children across the globe who are barred from going to school.
"Let us pick up our books and pens," Malala said. "They are our most powerful weapons.
"One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first."
Malala also referenced several historical figures, including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Ban Ki Moon, who overcame a variety of difficulties to "make a difference" in the world around them.
Her speech was interrupted several times for standing ovations from the delegates with Mr Brown, now a guardian of sorts for the 16-year-old, leading the way.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS