At the ceremony, Yousafzai, who at 15 years old was targeted by a Taliban assassination attempt for her school advocacy in Pakistan, drew attention to children whose classes have been interrupted by war.

People are taking pictures of themselves with their favorite books, captioned with why they are choosing books over violence, in a bid to tell world leaders to fund education.

In her speech at the school, funded by the Malala Fund, she criticized world leaders for “failing” Syrian refugees, especially Syrian children. “This is a heartbreaking tragedy – the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades”, she added.

Ever since the near fatal shooting by the Taliban on Malala, her resolve to ensure that girls get a chance and a right to education has inspired many in the West. This is often looked by Pakistani social commentators with a certain disdain.

There are now 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and of those 500,000 are school-age children. “This is inhuman and this is shameful”.

Her father, Ziauddin, expressed pride at her perseverance.

“This is the mission we have taken for the last eight to nine years”, he said. A small moment for the education of girls in Swat Valley: “it is spreading now all over the world”, he said.

Malala was greeted with songs and a birthday cake by the girls and moved to tears by their welcome.

She plans to visit a new girls’ school in Jordan later on Monday.