Malala: Education, not drones, is key to fighting terrorism

Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafza has a message for President Obama: stop fighting terrorism with more violence, and invest those resources in education.

Speaking to a crowd at the Forbes Under 30 summit in New York City, the 17-year-old Pakistani young woman said that she believes attacks against terrorists through drone technology and other ground violence only further the problem. Killing a few terrorists will not squelch the larger problem —  only education can do that. She said she had expressed those very sentiments to President Obama in a private meeting.

She did not outline his response to her thoughts, but merely said that he had “political” answers to her concerns.

The sentiments that Malala holds are actually pretty American in scope. In policy and practice, we believe that educating our children is a better use of energy than the futility of changing the minds of those already entrenched in one belief system or another. There seems to be a paradox though in how we behave here in the States, and how we act when dealing with issues outside the country. Instead of looking for a long-term solution to issues like terrorism, like the education Malala is emphasizing, we handle the immediate problem (that seems to return again with even greater fury).

Perhaps the “political” answers that the President gave to Malala are the necessary ones in order to keep us safe. But perhaps Malala’s suggestions should still be taken seriously, as a simultaneous initiative that could lead to long-term peace.

Do you think higher levels of education can really combat the terrorist mindset?




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