BOSTON (CBS) – It’s not often that close to 1,000 people – mostly adults – hang on every single word a teenager has to say.
But that’s exactly what happened Saturday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who survived being shot in the head in a Taliban attack last fall, shared her gripping story of survival and campaigning for the education of girls in her homeland and worldwide.
“We must not be afraid of death,” the Nobel Peace Prize nominee told the crowd. “I am not afraid of death because I have seen death once in my life.”
Malala took a bullet to her head and neck all because she, like her father, Ziauddin, had spoken out for educating Pakistani girls.
“In 2007, the terrorism started,” she said of Muslim extremists in the Swat Valley, where her family lived. “And the Taliban and the terrorists, they stopped us from going to school.”
But Malala didn’t listen, and that almost cost the teen her life.
“When I was in the hospital, I did not know that the whole world was praying for me,” she said, “and every girl and every child was supporting me.”
She now has the support of President Barack Obama, who met with Malala on Friday in Washington.
On Saturday, the Kennedy Library Foundation presented Malala with a bust of President Kennedy in recognition of the impact she is having on education for girls around the world.
Despite ongoing Taliban threats on her life, Malala wants to make a direct impact in Pakistan.
“The Taliban must keep it in mind that one has to die one day,” the teen told the JFK Library audience. “If I die early, it does not matter. I will continue my campaign, and I’m going back to Pakistan as soon as possible and I want to be a politician. … Through politics, I am going to save my nation.”
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