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Markus Schreiber, Associated Press

Malala Yousafzai to headline Utah tech conference

By Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com  |  Posted May 11th, 2018 @ 11:55am


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SALT LAKE CITY — At 15 years old, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan where the terrorist group had, at times, banned education for women and girls.

Two years later, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In August, Yousafzai will headline local tech education company Pluralsight’s second annual user conference. The 20-year-old is now, not only an activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, but a face for humanitarian advocacy worldwide.

"We are honored to have Malala take the stage," Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard said in a blog post. "We believe education is a fundamental human right, and there is no better person to speak about this topic than Malala. Since the age of 11, and even in the face of an attack on her life, Malala has continued to fight for the educational rights of girls and children around the world."

Yousafzai was born in Pakistan where her family ran a chain of schools in the region. At 12 years old, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu describing her life during the Taliban occupation of her native region.

The next summer, the New York Times ran a documentary about Yousafzai, and her face became more and more recognizable around the world as she appeared in print and on TV. Just a few years later, she and two other girls were shot during an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism.

The attempt on her life gained Yousafzai, not only local, but international attention and support, and she became a prominent activist for the right to education. She has since founded a nonprofit organization, the Malala Fund, which “works for a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.”

She also co-authored a book about her life story “I am Malala,” which went on to become an international best-seller. She then went on to win Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

She now lives in the U.K. with her family and continues championing the right to education for all.

Pluralsight, in comparison, has headed up the charge to bring computer science education into all Utah schools. The local and soon-to-be-public “tech unicorn” hopes to close the tech education gap the Beehive State is experiencing as Utah’s rapidly-growing tech sector continues to produce more tech jobs than it can fill.

“We need to equip our youth with the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. Computer science is central to that and transcends industries. From arts to manufacturing to agriculture to technology to the social sector… all organizations are impacted by technology,” Skonnard said during a tech conference in January.

Pluralsight’s conference will be held Aug. 28-30 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Tickets and more information can be found here.

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Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com
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