Collegiate Debaters Represent Rutgers at United Nations’ Malala Day

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Three members of the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team were selected to participate in the Malala Day – United Nations Youth Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on July 12, 2013. Chosen from among thousands because of their impressive civic and public service activities, Christopher Kozak, Thais Marques, and Christopher Williams  (all Newark residents) will join hundreds of young leaders of the global community to draw attention to the crucial role youths can play in enabling all children to receive a quality education.

July 12, 2013, has been designated “Malala Day” because it is the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a courageous advocate for universal education and girls’ rights who was targeted and shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for her brave activism. On Malala Day, in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, international youth leaders will convene at the UN headquarters and in cities around the world to support the goal of having all children, especially girls, enrolled in school and learning by 2015. Yousafzai will be marking the day by delivering her first public, high-level speech since the shooting. The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown, also will be present to address the youth assembly.

Kozak( left), Marques, and Williams (right) will participate in the daylong event led and facilitated by experts in the field of education and youth representatives from around the world. The gathering will include a variety of thematic policy discussions and skill-building sessions that will enable attendees to strengthen their advocacy work in their native countries and abroad.

Christopher Kozak is a Newark resident and graduate student at the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration in Newark, New Jersey. He is the director of the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team and led the team to its first #1 ranking in Northeast determined by the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) during the 2012-2013 season. Kozak graduated from Marist College majoring in political science and philosophy and has an interest in pursuing a career managing non-profit organizations with a focus on education reform.

Thais Marques is a resident of Newark and graduated from Science Park High School in Newark in 2013. She will be joining the freshman class at Rutgers University in Newark in the fall of 2013 where she will continue to hone her debate skills. Marques comes from a family of immigrants and engages in community activism with Newark youths to promote the interests of undocumented immigrants in the city.

Christopher Williams resides in Newark and is a sophomore at Rutgers University in Newark majoring in philosophy. A talented debater, Williams placed among the top 16 debaters at the CEDA Junior Varsity National Championship Tournament in the spring of 2013. 

To learn more about Malala Day, visit

More information about the Rutgers-Debate Team can be found at


Founded in 2006, SPAA is the first new school established at Rutgers University in more than 20 years. SPAA has one of the top 10 graduate programs in the United States in public management and administration, according to rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. SPAA’s mission encompasses competence, diversity, knowledge and service, and the school faculty members equip future leaders and educators with the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively deliver government services. It is the only such school at a public university in New Jersey. SPAA enhances New Jersey’s capacity to develop more effective government at all levels, offering degree and non-degree programs, research and technical assistance to make government more transparent to citizens. The school’s most recent initiatives include a national network on performance measurement and reporting, a municipal public performance measurement system, and the development of the E-Governance Institute.

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