Review of Malala Yousafzhai's U.N. Speech in 2013
Malala Yousafzai U.N. Speech: A Preview of the Youngest Nobel Laureate in History
On July 12, 2013, Malala Yousafzai delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations at a âyouth takeoverâ event. Definitely not the average teenage girl. Malala bravely fought against the Taliban in Pakistan while she fought for childrenâs education. Despite a whole terrorist group rallying against her, Malala stayed strong in her beliefs. When she was shot in the head in October 2012, everything changed. However, she never gave up. While in the United Kingdom, Malala persevered to recover from her severe gunshot wounds and eventually returned to school in Birmingham, England. Now known world-wide as an activist, her speech to the UN proved how powerful a speaker she represents as well. In the speech, what she said and how she delivered her thoughts were equally important and resounding.
To open her speech, she started out by thanking God and key members of the United Nations. Before her speech, the UN honored Malala by designating the date (her birthdate) as âMalala Dayâ. Unselfishly, she insisted âMalala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.â These opening sentences already began to reveal her humble character and added strength to her inspiring message. Her frequent use of parallelism and word repetition added force to her impassioned content. Using the refrains âtheir right toâ and âwe call uponâ in consecutive sentences are examples of how these tactics helped her speech ignite citizens around the globe. As one of the millions to watch this video recording, I canât help but wonder: how can such a young woman positively affect the world in such a drastic way? Lastly, Malala focused her attention on everyone, not just herself, not just children, not just women, but everyone. She highlighted how everyone can make a difference in this tragic social issue. Malala pleads for equality for all individuals and makes an effective case that all of us can help solve the problem moving forward. She speaks to represent not only herself, but all those looking to be treated with respect and equality. Because of her eloquent use of language, rhetorical techniques, and powerful call-to-action, Malalaâs first U.N. speech will undoubtedly be one for the history books.
Whatâs so shocking is that Malalaâs strong words and expert language use may not even be the most powerful aspect of her historic speech. The body language composure she possessed seemed extraordinary. With an audience of over 1,000, Malala stayed calm throughout her 20 minute speech. Her intense facial expressions and fiery eye connection with all the listeners complemented her words to strengthen a climactic call-to-action. In addition, Malalaâs volume varied to add emphasis to critical parts of her speech. She raised her voice when advocating for peace and education, while lowering her volume when thanking others and describing her troubled past. This volume contrast represented one technique she used to compel her listeners. She also changed her vocal tone from loving and warm-hearted to authoritative and demanding in a gradual build. At times, she turned to a more appreciative standpoint to acknowledge the help she received during her challenging journey. As illustrated, Malala showed a variety of nonverbal language techniques to persuade and encourage individuals to support education and fight for equality.
Undoubtedly, both Malalaâs powerful words and masterful use of language combine to hopefully change the course of history. Throughout her speech, she spoke passionately as she urged us to act against academic discrimination, but appeared most riveting when commanding us to recreate the future. Her courage and persecution serves as a role model for all teenagers like myself to overcome extreme hardship and adversity. Unsurprisingly, now she bears the honor of the youngest Nobel Prize winner, and rightfully so.