Malala the Storyteller, the Inspiration, the Game Changer

My wife and I had the honor of meeting Malala Yousafzai last year when we did a screening of the documentary film He Named Me Malala in D.C. 
Like everyone who meets her, I was struck by her poise, maturity and power to tell her story, and in doing so, shaping the world. Yes, she is that extraordinary, even in person.

With Malala Yousafzai and my wife Kim Larson at a screening of He Named Me Malala

Malala speaks to a central issue that I have been involved with throughout my career: education. Of course for Malala, she gives voice to the importance of educating girls. When I led Sesame Workshop, we worked in many countries — such as Egypt, India, South Africa, and Pakistan — to showcase the power of girls’ education. It is remarkable to me how a simple story, or in the case of Malala, an inspiring young girl, can break through the noise and make such a difference for us all.

Today, I have an incredible seat at National Geographic where our programs and initiatives educate millions of students every year. As part of the release of the film, we developed an impressive Service Learning Toolkit to inspire kids in grades 5–12, families and communities to explore their own interests and empower people to effect change. There are also links to discussion guides and a companion Curriculum Guide for educators to use with the screening of the film.

The Service Learning Toolkit National Geographic created to help educators talk to their students about Malala’s story.

Tonight, the National Geographic Channel is premiering He Named Me Malala for audiences around the world. It’s truly not to be missed. You can’t watch the film and not be inspired.

I am proud that we are using our growing platform to ignite dialogue and provide the tools that lead to meaningful impact.

Malala’s story is not just about girls and education — but also about culture and exploration, determination and passion. At National Geographic, we are committed to explore and engage globally, but we are also dedicated to educating the next generation and telling stories of courage and wonder. I am proud that we are using our growing platform to ignite dialogue and provide the tools that lead to meaningful impact.

Malala with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai in a scene from He Named Me Malala

For me, it is not just about being a CEO; it’s about being a dad. I have three daughters — my youngest graduates from college in a few months. Education was a given in our family. I can’t begin to imagine facing the violence and threats Malala and her parents faced just to go to school.

But brave, courageous Malala did and tonight the world will see the power of this remarkable young woman. As a father, she has already inspired me. I know she will inspire you.

I hope everyone, but especially parents and educators, watch He Named Me Malala tonight.