Apple CEO Tim Cook and Malala Yousafzai Team Up to Support Girls’ Education

Both are globally recognized icons, yet their areas of expertise are seemingly worlds apart.

One is Tim Cook, the tireless and philanthropic chief executive officer of Apple Inc.; the other is Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate activist who fights for — and puts her life on the line for — girls’ education around the world. The unlikely pair came together on a recent January afternoon in downtown Beirut to announce a shared vision.

They were collaborating to make quality education available for girls and young women wherever they live in the world. Together, they say they will significantly expand the work already being done by Malala’s efforts to support girls’ education and advocate for equal opportunity, especially targeting the 130 million girls in the world who have no access to quality education.

They don’t yet know exactly how they will accomplish this enormous feat, but they say they’re dedicated to finding the answer.

“We are committing resources, and we are committing money and technology,” Cook told ABC News. “130 million girls is a lot of folks around the world and so this is a bold ambition. This is exactly what Apple loves to work on and is something that everybody is saying is impossible.”

Apple and Malala’s Fund announced Monday that they will partner to champion “every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.” Through the partnership, Apple is hoping to double the number of grants awarded to Malala’s Fund and extend programs to India and Latin America.

The goal is to extend secondary education opportunities to more than 100,000 girls.

Cook and Malala met just three months ago while Cook was on a business trip to England, where Malala is a student at the prestigious Oxford University. Yet, that initial encounter provided a spark they both hope will now lead to even greater accomplishments.

“We started talking and it became so clear that the values we share were so aligned. It was then a matter of what to do together not a matter of whether,” Cook told ABC News.

Malala has been advocating for girls’ education for years. Before she was even a teenager, Malala began speaking out about life under the Taliban in her native Swat Valley, Pakistan. In retaliation, gunmen tried to murder her with a shot to the head. It was an ordeal that she barely survived but one that taught her to cherish her courage and to stand up for her beliefs.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: ABC News, Matthew McGarry