Malala vows not to be silenced by Taleban attack

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taleban, speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on Friday, July 12, 2013, in New York City. Malala told the United Nations on Friday th
Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taleban, speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on Friday, July 12, 2013, in New York City. Malala told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taleban. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK CITY, United Nations (AFP) - Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taleban.

"They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed," Malala said on her 16th birthday, which she spent making calls for greater global efforts to get children into schools.

"The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born," she said in a speech given several standing ovations.

The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taleban gunman as she rode on a school bus near her home in Pakistan's Swat Valley on October 12 last year.

She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.

Mr Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as "the bravest girl in the world" as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.