Ziauddin Yousafzai (born 1969 Shangla, Pakistan) is a Pakistani education activist best known as the father of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who protested against the Taliban for the education rights of girls, especially for Pakistani girls. He is currently the United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education and also the educational attaché of Pakistan in its consulate in Birmingham, UK. These positions were allotted to Zia despite having no previous experience in any form of diplomacy or office administration.
ضیاء الدین یوسفزئی
Yousafzai (left) with daughter Malala at the Seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 20 November 2013
|Native name||ضیاء الدین یوسفزۍ|
7 December 1969 |
|Children||3, including Malala Yousafzai|
His exact birthdate is unknown. Ziauddin's father was the orator Rohul Amin Yousafzai, who was also a teacher of theology at a government high school and Imam of the local mosque. He is also a school owner and an educational activist himself, running a chain of schools known as the Khushal Public School, named after a famous Pashtun poet, Khushal Khan Khattak, as well as being a member of the Rotary Club of Swat.
Politically, he is affiliated with the Awami National Party (ANP), a left-wing Pashtun nationalist party in Pakistan whose origins are linked with the Khudai Khidmatgar (aka Red Shirts), which was a secular Pashtun non-violent movement against the British Raj.
In July 2015, Yousafzai helped launch Global Peace Centre Canada (GPCC) at the University of Waterloo's Conrad Grebel University College. Yousafzai serves as the Honorary Chair on the Board of Directors of GPCC.
Growing up, Ziauddin had a stutter. Since his father was an educational activist, Ziauddin was inspired. Even though he had a stutter, he wanted to prove to his parents that he would be able to learn and speak correctly.
Ziauddin Yousafzai attended Jahanzeb College located in Swat, Pakistan. During his time in college, he was made general secretary of the Pakhtoon Students Federation (PSF), a student group that wanted equal rights for Pashtuns. Yousafzai graduated from Jehanzeb College with a Master's in English.
When his daughter, Malala, was old enough to start understanding that at a certain age girls were prohibited to attend school, he inspired her to stand up and speak up. Instead of attending school, girls would have to stay home and learn how to cook for their brothers and fathers. When he created his schools after college with his friend Naeem Khan, they would of course be open to teaching girls who would strive to keep learning and going to school. He supported every woman who wanted to become successful in life and not stay illiterate like many women in Pakistan.
On June 11, 2015, Yousafzai received an Honorary doctorate of law from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada for his commitment to peace, as well as his ongoing efforts for the educational rights of girls in Pakistan and beyond.
Yousafzai has an older brother, Saeed Ramzan, and five sisters. He has a wife, named Pekai, a daughter, Malala, and two sons, Khushal and Atal. His first daughter (circa 1995) was stillborn. Ziauddin has been seen on interviews with his daughter, being able to speak fluent English, Urdu, and Pashto.
Ziauddin did a sit down interview with the current affairs program The Agenda He also gave a speech for TED Talk where he describes the reasons he encourages his daughter to speak up for women's rights. In his speech, he recalls never seeing his sisters' names written on paper growing up, and going to school while they all had to stay home. He attributes his activism to these facts.
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- Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina (2013). I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316322407.
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