Malala Schools Stephen Colbert on Card Tricks and Forgiveness

Along with advocating for girls’ education, the activist also knows a little magic.
Sep 26, 2015·
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

At 18, Malala Yousafzai has won a Nobel Peace Price and written a memoir. Known for tirelessly advocating for equal access to education, she recently surprised Americans by showcasing another of her skills—card tricks.

After addressing the United Nations on Friday, Yousafzai headed over to The Late Show, where she impressed Stephen Colbert with some sleight-of-hand tricks and her ability to forgive the Taliban gunman who tried to kill her.

“I think of the world as a happy place. And I believe that I should treat others the way I want them to treat me,” Yousafzai told Colbert. “I want everyone to be kind to me, to love me, to take care of me, to forgive me if I do something bad. And that’s what I have chosen in my mind: I have forgiven them.”

Because she spoke out about girls’ education rights, Yousafzai, who is the subject of the documentary He Named Me Malala, was the target of an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012. (Disclosure: He Named Me Malala is supported by Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company.) She survived a shot in the head in her home country of Pakistan.

But that didn’t silence the activist. She’s continued fighting for girls’ education, cofounding the Malala Fund and opening a secondary school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon this year.

“It’s the duty of all of us to contribute,” Yousafzai said to Colbert. Her school also threw down the gauntlet for U.N. members to take action to ensure that every child will have access to 12 years of free schooling. “Before asking world leaders [to help] I wanted to do something myself. And then to tell them, ‘I have built one school—can you? Can you do this?’ ”