CNN International has announced a new slate of programming focused on the empowerment of young girls around the world with the premiere of film Girl Rising and launch of A Girl’s World, a distinctive new series chronicling the lives of seven girls in seven countries. 

Girl Rising, filmed before the well-known girls’ education campaigner Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, follows several girls across the globe as they pursue an education. Like Malala, these girls – who come from Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nepal, Peru and Sierra Leone – fight to overcome impossible odds to realise their dreams. Directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins, the two-hour film features voice performances by Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett (Haiti), Anne Hathaway (Afghanistan) and Meryl Streep (Ethiopia), in addition to Salma Hayek (Peru), Chloë Moretz (Egypt), Selena Gomez (Sierra Leone) and Kerry Washington (Nepal). It debuts on June 22 for two consecutive nights. 

CNN Digital is offering special coverage of the film at, publishing open letters from influential women on the importance of education to empower girls around the world. It will highlight ways for the audience to take action and help girls’ education in their own communities and around the world. CNN iReport, the network’s global participatory community, will invite readers to write their own letters.