The Taliban tried to assassinate Yousafzai in Pakistan when she was 15, because she dared to speak up for the right of girls to attend school. She became an international activist and was named a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, the youngest-ever to receive the distinction.
Yousafzai, 19, is scheduled to address Canada’s Parliament on April 12, when she will officially receive the honour.
The honorary citizenship was actually bestowed in 2014 but the ceremony was cancelled in light of the deadly Parliament Hill attack.
“I am honoured by Parliament’s invitation and look forward to visiting this great nation of heroes.”
— Malala Yousafzai
“Ms. Yousafzai’s courageous response to those who threatened her life, and her advocacy for girls’ education, has inspired many millions of people around the world. Her story is one of determination and dignity, and Canada is proud to call her an honorary citizen of this great country,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a news release Monday.
“The people of Canada are leading the world in their response to the refugee crisis,” said Yousafzai in a statement. “I am honoured by Parliament’s invitation and look forward to visiting this great nation of heroes.”
Only five other people have received an honorary citizenship:
- Swedish humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust
- Former South African leader Nelson Mandela
- The 14th Dalai Lama
- Burmese politician and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi
- Spiritual leader, the Aga Khan.