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Malala To Open UN Summit With Appeal For Free Education

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (center) poses with Syrian refugees on her 18th birthday during the opening of the Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School built by the Kayany Foundation in Barr Elias, Lebanon, on July 12.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will open a United Nations' summit of world leaders with a speech calling for free 12-year education for all the world's children.

The address by Malala, who was shot on a school bus in Pakistan in 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls' rights to education, will immediately follow an opening address by Pope Francis on September 25.

"The dreams [the leaders] have for their own children, I'm hopeful they will have the same dreams for the rest of the world's children," Malala said in an interview with Reuters.

"If you want our future to be more powerful, to be enlightened, to be bright, we need to invest in education," she said, noting it "does not require as much money as we think -- just $39 billion, which we spend just in eight days on [the] military."

Malala, who celebrated her 18th birthday in July in Lebanon by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls, said she would also highlight the plight of refugee children as Europe faces the largest wave of refugees and migrants since World War II.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP