Susan Ann Davis, Vital Voices Board of Directors chair and chairman of Susan Davis International, accepted the PRWeek Awards ‘Communicator of the Year’ prize on behalf of Malala, offering these remarks:
“How perfect that Malala is being given this award on the eve of International Women’s Day. While we can celebrate the many achievements of women, we must remember that 32 milliion girls around the world are still prevented from getting an education, and at least one in three women will be beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime.
Malala is an extreme example of the way violence is used to keep young girls and women from being educated, from being free to speak out, from being free to realize their dreams. This award reminds us that a great communicator is not of a certain age or position. Although the attack left Malala grievously wounded, the damage to her body only further emboldened her spirit. Her voice and her determination to campaign against the injustice of girls being prevented an education in Taliban-controlled Pakistan and beyond is now stronger than ever. She is an inspiration for us all to do our part to be sure her dream becomes her reality.
Before she was attacked, Malala was in the process of setting up an organization with her friends that would provide opportunities to attend school for girls who were forced into domestic labor. The first grant from the Malala Fund will support a class of girls to enter school and leave domestic labor in Pakistan.
In Malala’s words:
I am extremely grateful to PR Week for having chosen me as their ‘Communicator of the Year.’ The most powerful messages are those which come from the heart and I hope that my success in communicating – if I have had any – is a result of my passionate belief in the cause for which I fight: the right of all girls to be educated.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the many thousands of people from around the world – many of whom I will never get the chance to meet – who have helped to spread my message. Without their support and kindness, I would not have been able to promote the cause of education in this way.
On behalf of Malala, her family and Vital Voices, congratulations to all the finalists, and thank you for this honor.”