The two young women took a brief pause from advocating for the environment and human rights to meet for the very first time. To no one’s surprise, they were fast friends.
Greta Thunberg visited Malala Yousafzai at the University of Oxford, where the Pakistani activist is a senior. Thunberg is in the UK for a school strike planned for later this week.
Admiration between the two activists was mutual.
“So … today I met my role model,” Thunberg tweeted. “What else can I say?”
“She’s the only friend I’d skip school for,” Yousafzai quipped.
Both activists came to prominence at a young age, Malala for girls’ education and Greta for the environment. They’ve both addressed the United Nations and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (Malala won in 2014, when she was 17 — Thunberg’s age now).
Despite hitting similar milestones, the two had never met until this week. That’s not to say they weren’t fans of each other before, though.
In a recent interview with Teen Vogue, the 22-year-old Yousafzai praised Thunberg and Emma Gonzalez, a gun violence survivor and founder of the March For Our Lives movement, for continuing her legacy of activism.
“Sometimes in rooms with decision-makers, they don’t have any young people at the table; they don’t even have women, let alone young people,” she told the magazine. “So just to have the voices of young people present there, just to have women being present at those tables, I think it’s a huge difference.”
Though Thunberg’s main focus has been raising the alarm on climate change, the teen environmental advocate spent part of her time on campus speaking with Oxford students about science, voting and the limits of protest.