Focus on Being Good World Citizens

By O'Neil, Joseph E. | Defense Counsel Journal, April 2016 | Go to article overview

Focus on Being Good World Citizens


O'Neil, Joseph E., Defense Counsel Journal


At our 2016 Midyear Meeting in February, our keynote speaker was Shiza Shahid, friend of Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and co-founder and CEO of the Malala Fund. This remarkable business woman rushed to the side of Ms. Yousafzai, a 15-year-old shot by the Taliban for speaking out and demanding education for all girls and women in Pakistan. She supported her friend while she recovered and then helped her lead a movement.

Just in her late 20s, Ms. Shahid has been unafraid to tackle the big issues. The world does better when women are educated, and the Malala Fund has worked to create educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Sierra Leone, and Kenya among others.

Now Ms. Shahid has moved on from the Malala Fund and is working on venture capital opportunities to advance the ball on a range of social issues. She encouraged our attendees to look differently at how charitable goals and social progress are achieved and how we can make real and impactful change.

Her speech was inspiring and a call to action; an individual's contribution can make a difference. As I mentioned in my October column, our fundamental responsibility as lawyers includes the greater public good, equal access to justice and equality before the law. While creating relationships and building business are critical benefits of a professional association, so is our ability to work together to utilize our skills to contribute to the world. …

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