Angelina Jolie Pays Tribute to Malala Yousafzai, Donates $200,000 to Fund Named After Pakistani Student Activist

Actress honors the 15-year-old girl, who was shot by the Taliban in October for advocating for equal-opportunity education

By Alexis L. Loinaz Apr 05, 2013 11:53 AMTags
Angelina Jolie, Women in the World Summit 2013Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage

She played an adventure-seeking heroine in Tomb Raider, but Angelina Jolie is making it perfectly clear who she thinks her real-life hero is.

At the Women in the World Summit Thursday, the actress took the stage at Lincoln Center in New York City to honor Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani student activist who was shot by the Taliban in October for advocating for equal-opportunity education in her country.

The 37-year-old star also pledged to donate $200,000 to the new Malala Fund, which was established by Vital Voices to benefit girls' education.

Jolie introduced Yousafzai, who appeared via video from Britain to talk about the new charity initiative.

In her speech, the actress recounted the student's harrowing odyssey. "The Taliban shot her at point-bank range in the head, and made her stronger," Jolie said. "In a brutal attempt to silence her voice, it grew louder."

"This is the happiest moment of my life," Yousafzai later said while announcing the fund via the video feed, per The Daily Beast. "If we can educate 40 girls, we can educate 40 million girls."

Jolie has been unwavering in her support of Yousafzai: A week after the young student was shot, Jolie donated $50,000 to the Women in the World Foundation to help in her cause.

Brad Pitt's fiancée has also passed along Yousafzai's message of strength and justice to her own kids, revealing in an essay posted on The Daily Beast that "Malala's story stayed with them throughout the day, and that night they were full of questions."

She also added that the children sought to pay their own tribute to Yousafzai: "Our 8-year-old suggested that the world build a statue for Malala," Jolie wrote, "and fittingly create a reading nook near it."