5th November, 2015


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Father of Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai calls on the key Pakistani decision makers to stand with him for girls’ education.

Dubai, November 9, 2015: The father of Nobel peace prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, has joined Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Middle East, to launch a campaign for girls’ education within the Pakistani expat community in the UAE.

Ziauddin Yousafzai has called upon Pakistani fathers, sons and brothers, who are often the decision makers in their families, to ‘stand with him’ for girls’ education.

The ‘Stand with Ziauddin’ campaign was launched with a special screening of He Named Me Malala, for the Pakistani community in Dubai, at which Ziauddin, and his daughter Malala attended.

Mr. Yousafzai said at the screening: “I ask the fathers, brothers and sons in the audience to learn from my story and the relationship with my daughter. Many people ask me how I helped Malala become the woman she is today. I tell them, it’s not what I did for her, it’s what I did not do. I did not clip her wings.”

Following the screening, Ziauddin and Malala spoke at length with the audience, in their native languages of Pashtun and Urdu, urging audience members to join their campaign as ambassadors for girls’ education.

Shiraz Sherwani, a Pakistani expat living in the UAE who attended the screening, said: “After watching the documentary, and listening to Ziauddin and Malala talk, I will most definitely ‘Stand with Ziauddin’.

“The film is not just about Malala – it’s about a culture, a mindset that needs to be challenged. All those who think girls’ education is not important or girls shouldn’t do this or that; I think it is very important for these people to watch the documentary, especially Pakistanis, and I would hope that on seeing it, their perception and mindset will change for the better.”

Image Nation will go on to host a number of additional screenings of He Named Me Malala in labor accommodations across the UAE. The screenings will be followed by in-depth discussions led by Pakistani social education specialists.

Danielle Perissi, Head of Documentary Films and Television at Image Nation, said: “We think it’s imperative that films like He Named Me Malala are seen by everyone, not just those who can afford to see it in the cinema.

“Image Nation strives to create documentaries that can spark a positive change in the world.  That’s why we’re pleased to launch this film with special screenings, and a schools outreach campaign to ensure its message is seen and heard by as many people as possible.”

As part of the campaign, Image Nation, who are co-producers of the Malala Yousafzai biopic, produced a series of short films with Ziauddin, which will be used for a targeted social media campaign in the coming months.

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation said: “We have had great success in the past with our critically acclaimed Polio documentary, Every Last Child, which was vital to the End Polio Now campaign. We hope we can have the same impact with Ziauddin.

“We feel honored to partner with Ziauddin, and to bring his and Malala’s message straight into the heart of the Pakistani communities.”

The film, which is now screening in selected theatres across the UAE, premiered in Abu Dhabi last month to a standing ovation and rave reviews. The film is being released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, distributed by Empire International (in the region) in association with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Participant Media and National Geographic Channel. The documentary was produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term partnership with Image Nation, and also produced by director Davis Guggenheim.