Governments, companies and individuals must “step up” to effect change and not just leave it to the activists, according to the new godmother of Celebrity Edge.
Speaking at the naming ceremony of the 2,900 passenger vessel in Fort Lauderdale this week, Pakistani activist, student, UN Messenger of Peace and Nobel Peace prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, said: “Millions of girls aiming to be doctors, CEOs and ships’ captains are stuck in situations they did not create. I am proud to dedicate my life to the goal that girls everywhere have a right to basic and safe education.”
But Malala warned: “Too often the world sits back and relies on activists to deliver solutions to problems. Activists can’t do it alone. It requires governments, companies and individuals to step up and create opportunities for women, just as Celebrity Cruises has done.”
Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Celebrity parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Ltd, said: “Lisa [Lutoff-Perlo] wanted 30% of the staff and crew of Celebrity Edge to female. She has reached that target and more.”
He added: “For a special ship we wanted a very special Godmother. Malala is rousing a generation and we are deeply honoured to team up with her and Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”
And Fain was visibly moved as he said: “As a child, she stood up for women to have a safe, free and quality education. On her way to school she was viciously attacked but she survived and became an inspirational leader.
“We take her call for the equal treatment of women and girls to heart and we hope her message extends to our company, our crew and our guests.”
Malala added: “I have never been on a ship like this before but unexpected and extraordinary partnerships can create good and we must use these opportunities to create a more equal world.”
Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo added: “Celebrity Edge was built on purpose. It needed to catapult Celebrity into the future and amplify what is so special about Celebrity Cruises, including our drive for diversity and inclusivity.
“This ship needed a godmother who would be more heroic than the ship itself.
“Malala is an extraordinary woman achieving extraordinary results, working tirelessly to ensure safe, free education for girls. Malala was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. She was always taught that her gender should never be a barrier. We was always equal in her father’s eyes. We salute you Mr Yousafzai.”
Lutoff-Perlo revealed the crew onboard Celebrity Edge represents over 70 diverse nationalities, and that she had just hired the line’s third female captain.
She name-checked UK, Ireland and Asia boss, Jo Rzymowska, for “rallying the support of trade partners, many of whom are in the audience today”, and she thanked agents for being “so supportive and excited throughout the journey to this day.”
UK trade partners described the ceremony as “powerful and emotional” and many said they had been moved to tears by the speeches.
Malala named Celebrity Edge by releasing a massive bottle of sparkling water to smash against the hull, instead of the traditional champagne.
Multi-Grammy award winner Andra Day performed her hit song, ‘Rise Up’, and second track, ‘Stand For Something’, and confetti, shot from cannons into the theatre, had Malala quotes written on them, including: “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world” and “Education in one of the blessings of life – and one of its necessities.”
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