It's been almost two years since Apple partnered with the Malala Fund to increase the educational opportunities for girls around the world, and Apple's CEO joined the organization's namesake on stage Monday to reiterate the importance of teaching girls to code.
Cook joined Malala Yousafzai and Mary Papazian, the president of San Jose State University, during an onstage discussion at the university about Apple's partnership with the organization, which partners with governments and organizations around the world to fight for every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe and quality education. Apple's partnership is designed to help the nonprofit double the number of grants it offers and extend its funding programs to India and Latin America.
"We've tried to focus on teaching coding skills to everyone. Everyone should learn to code before they graduate," Cook told those in attendance, according to a tweet by SJSU's Spartan Daily.
The Malala Fund was set up in 2013 by Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who began advocating for human rights as a child after the local Taliban banned girls education in her area. In 2012 as she was gaining international recognition, she almost died when a Taliban militant shot her in head. Instead of retreating, however, Yousafzai's activism grew.
"Technology is changing at a very fast pace, we need to change our education for that," Yousafzai said, according to a Spartan Daily tweet. "We have taken it for granted that education isn't possible in some places like refugee camps, but technology can change that."
Cook called education "the great equalizer" that can "fix a lot of struggles," according to an NBC Bay Area account of the discussion.
"If you focus on girls in the family, then the benefit to everyone is exponential," Cook said.