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Apple CEO, Pakistani Activist at SJSU to Talk Tech, Educating Girls

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The alliance between technology and courage took another step forward Monday on the campus of San Jose State.

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban as she rode the bus to school, to talk about their shared goal of educating girls around the globe.

Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, talked with NBC Bay Area exclusively, saying her life’s work continues to be about giving 130 million girls around the world not in school access to books, not bullets, via her international nonprofit Malala Fund.

About 150 stunned San Jose State students on Monday got a lesson in pioneering with a purpose as Apple and Yousafzai paid a surprise visit to the campus to talk about the positive power of technology.

"Education is embedded in Apple’s DNA," Cook said. "It is the great equalizer. If you fix that, you fix a lot of other struggles."

The partnsership is aimed at educating girls in Aghgnaistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria, countries where girls are routinely denied the right to learn and where Apple and Yousafzai are now pushing for equity and education for all.

"If you focus on girls in the family, then the benefit to everyone is exponential," Cook said.

Cook joined forces with Yousafzai last year after visiting the Oxford University student in England. Apple quickly became the Malala Fund's first laureate partner.

Yousafzai said Apple not only provides financial support, but it also helps staff on the ground champion its message across diverse cultural lines.

"Apple has helped to expand and help our vision grow," Yousafzai said.

Yousafzai was just 11 years old when under the pseudonym "Gul-Makai," she began blogging about life in Pakistan under the rule of the Taliban. Her relentless advocacy for girls education almost cost her life when at the age of 15 she was shot by the Taliban aboard a school bus.

Rather than cower, Yousafzai amplified her voice, establishing the Gulmakai Network.

"I have seen already seen progress, and the number of girls who are out of school has dropped down in the last two decades," she said. "We are hopeful that in the next 10 years, we can see a faster and more rapid decrease in the number of girls out of school."

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