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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Tag: 2014-15

Shiza Shahid, Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, is Keynote Speaker for Go Big Read

In 2014, 57 million children are not enrolled in school. According to the United Nations, 53% of the children are girls, and 2/3 of the illiterate people in the world are women. Shiza Shahid is working with Malala Yousafzai to reverse this epidemic and empower girls to reach their potential through education.
 Shiza first met Malala when she was a sophomore in college at Stanford University. Shiza grew up in Pakistan just three hours from Malala’s home, and when she heard about Malala’s fight to keep her school open she knew that she needed to help. That summer Shiza planned a camp for Malala and 27 other girls in the capital of Pakistan. The camp’s goal was to empower them to be entrepreneurs and activists. 
It was only a few years later that Malala was shot by the Taliban, and Shiza traveled to be by her side in England. While recovering in the hospital, Malala realized that she wanted to turn her tragedy into a movement that could inspire and empower girls across the world. Malala, Malala’s father, and Shiza decided to create an organization with a mission to empower girls through education so that they can become agents of change in their communities. In October of 2013 the Malala Fund was officially launched. The Malala fund works with local partners around the world to help the 600 million girls in developing countries receive an education. The fund believes that education empowers girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. 
Shiza will be on campus October 27-28 to meet with small groups of students and to deliver a public talk at Varsity Hall.
Links to the Malala Fund’s website, Facebook, and Twitter are below:

Malala Yousafzai: “Girls in Nigeria are my sisters”

By now, most of us have heard the story of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram in mid-April. As outrage and demands for action have spread across the globe, Malala Yousafzai, advocate for girls’ education and author of our 2014-15 Go Big Read book, sat down with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour for an interview.

“I thought that ‘my sisters are in prison now,'” Malala says, explaining her first thoughts on hearing about the abduction. “And I felt as if I should speak up for them, because I have a responsibility. I believe that we are sent to this earth as a community, and it’s our responsibility to take care of each other. The girls in Nigeria are my sisters, and it’s my responsibility that I speak up for my sisters.”
She added that Boko Haram “don’t really understand Islam…they are actually abusing the name of Islam, because they have forgotten that the word ‘Islam’ means peace. […] They are actually afraid of the power of women. They don’t want women to get empowered, to get education, and they don’t want women to achieve their goals. So I think these terrorists are afraid of women, and that’s why they are kidnapping women.”
You can watch the full interview here.

Go Big Read selects “I Am Malala” for 2014-15

The Taliban thought bullets would silence Malala Yousafzai.

But instead they made her voice stronger, and today the teenager from
Pakistan is known worldwide as a transformative advocate who embodies
the power of education for girls.

Her book, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” is the latest selection for Go Big Read, UW-Madison’s common-reading program.

Go Big Read organizers encouraged the campus community to suggest
titles that fit into a theme of service. Chancellor Rebecca Blank chose
“I Am Malala” from the short list that a selection committee culled from
nearly 200 nominated titles.

“Malala’s story offers our students and campus community a firsthand
account from a part of the world that is continuously in the news,”
Blank says. “Readers will connect with these experiences through her
convincing description of how she became a voice of protest against the
social restrictions she faced. Her story will lead our students to
reflect on the opportunities they have to use their own voice in the
world.”

Yousafzai begins the book, co-written with British journalist
Christina Lamb, by recounting the moment she was shot in the head in
October 2012 on her way home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The
rest of the book retraces the events that led up to that moment in a
region that is one of the world’s hotspots.

“It is difficult to imagine a chronicle of a war more moving, apart
from perhaps the diary of Anne Frank,” said a review in The Washington
Post. Time Out New York said Yousafzai’s touching story, “will not only
inform you of changing conditions in Pakistan, but inspire your
rebellious spirit.”
Yousafzai was 11 when she began writing a blog anonymously for the
BBC, describing life under Taliban rule from her hometown of Mingora, in
the northwest region of Pakistan.

She was awarded the country’s National Peace Award in 2012, which has
since been renamed the National Malala Peace Prize.She was nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and was recently named by TIME
magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She and
her family now live in England, where she continues to go to school.

“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” the now 16-year-old told
young leaders from 100 countries at the United Nations Youth Assembly in
New York last year. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one
teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the
only solution.”
Patrick McBride, associate dean for students at the UW School of
Medicine and Public Health and a member of the selection committee, said
the story will remind readers why they can’t take their right to an
education for granted.

“The rights of women, and the values of freedom, family, and
education are championed by this remarkable family,” McBride says.
“While the title sounds simple, when we read in the introduction
of where those words are spoken, it will bring chills to the reader and
become a cry for freedom around the world.”

Karen Crossley, associate director of operations for the Morgridge
Center for Public Service, also served on the selection committee and
says Yousafzai being close in age to most UW undergraduates will capture
the attention of students.

“Malala’s commitment to composing a better world defines service in a highly personal way,” Crossley says.

Planning is underway for how students, faculty and staff will use the
book in classrooms and for special events associated with “I Am
Malala.”

Yousafzai will be in her senior year of high school and therefore
unable to come to campus, but organizers are arranging for a speaker
connected to the book who will give a public talk this fall.
UW-Madison instructors interested in using the book can request a review copy here.

Copies of the book will be given to first-year students at the
Chancellor’s Convocation for New Students and to students using the book
in their classes.

More information about the ongoing Go Big Read program and plans for this fall can be found here.

Jenny Price, UW-Madison University Communications

UW-Madison and the Peace Corps

Did you know that UW-Madison has a long, proud history with the Peace Corps? Last week, our campus was again named the nation’s “top producer of Peace Corps volunteers.” You can read more about our history with the Peace Corps here.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This news comes at a particularly interesting time, as Go Big Read’s 2014-15 theme is “service.” Last week, the selection committee met to establish a shortlist of books to consider; for the next few weeks, we’ll be reading and discussing these books. It’s an exciting time, and while we can’t give any hints yet, we can’t wait until we make an official announcement!

There are a lot of reasons to be proud of being a Badger, and our history of service is definitely one of them. You can find out more about the Peace Corps on the organization website, and check out the annual rankings of universities. If you’re interested in volunteering for the Peace Corps, stop by the UW-Madison Peace Corps office in 156 Red Gym, or visit their website.