“She represents all the things we would want to teach a young lady here in the United States,” Watkins said. “She demonstrates the importance of believing in something, taking a stand and being willing to be strong enough to keep moving forward. That's the kind of determination we want young ladies to see, and to realize the strength they can bring to the table.”
The education of girls is critical to the advancement of our global society, and Malala's story is one that can serve as an inspiration to all girls aspiring to achieve their personal goals through education, said Jill Irvine, head of the Women and Gender Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma. Irvine also teaches “Women and World Politics” and “Gender, War and Peace.”
“Not only is educating girls the right thing to do, but research shows that it is incredibly productive in terms of moving developing societies forward,” Irvine said. “It's not just girls that benefit from their education, but ultimately, everyone does. What's so lovely about the Yousafzais' story is that it is a family story. In this fight for equality, men are crucial, and it is important to remember the support Malala received from her family, particularly her father, which gave her a strong base from which to work and probably helps her to be so courageous.”
The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. on May 13, and single tickets are $168. Ziauddin's appearance at the ceremony will represent his first trip to the United States since the Taliban's assassination attempt on Malala last year. For more information about the luncheon, visit http://oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/roh.