You would think that attending Oxford would be enough of a job on its own (without throwing meetings with CEOs of global tech companies and charitable initiatives into the mix). Well, maybe for you, but not for Malala Yousafzai. At the end of last year, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was able to fit in a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss partnering in a global initiative to realize her dream of bringing education to the 130 million girls worldwide who don’t have access to it.
Last October, Cook was heading to Oxford to launch a project to help tech start-ups in the area and reached out to the women’s rights and girl’s education activist “just to meet her.” Well, who wouldn’t?
“I knew that it was her first term [at Oxford] and I reached out to her and asked if she’d take a meeting,” Cook told Your Morning’s Ben Mulroney, “I was lucky enough that she would take a meeting and it was one of those rare points in time when you begin to talk to somebody and you know instantly that you’re kindred spirits … And it becomes more a matter of what you do, not whether you’re going to do something together.”
.@ABC News Exclusive: Apple’s Tim Cook and @malala team up to fight for girls’ education. “This is exactly what Apple loves to work on – it’s something that everybody is saying is impossible,” Cook says. https://t.co/kPVoZPKEYs pic.twitter.com/g43gxDu6TM
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 22, 2018
During the course of their conversation, Cook decided that he would like to lend Apple’s vast resources in classroom innovation through technology and the company’s global impact to the Malala Fund‘s cause. The pair announced in a statement Monday that they would be joining forces to champion and fund “every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education” in countries where it is forbidden or where access is limited. The Fund’s initial goal is getting 100,000 girls around the world — including Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria — into classrooms.
“I want to see every girl decide their own future,” Malala told ABC, “I want every girl to have access to quality education. I want girls to follow their dreams.” Cook says, enthusiastically, that Malala’s dream is something that Apple is passionate about seeing realized. In the 40 years since the company was founded on the vision of Steve Jobs, education has been a primary focus of its philanthropic involvement.
I am grateful to my friend Tim and @Apple for investing in our dream of a world where every girl can choose her own future. Together we will support the incredible girls we met in Beirut and millions like them around the world. https://t.co/nMm8aOuQVy
— Malala (@Malala) January 22, 2018
“Malala is a courageous advocate for equality,” Cook said, “She’s one of the most inspiring figures of our time, and we are honored to help her extend the important work she is doing to empower girls around the world.” They know it’s a tall order, but they’re staring it down with all they’ve got.
“We are committing resources, and we are committing money and technology,” Cook said, “130 million girls is a lot of folks around the world and so this is a bold ambition. This is exactly what Apple loves to work on and is something that everybody is saying is impossible.”
If we’ve learned anything from Malala — “The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” — it’s that nothing is really impossible.