At 17-years-old, Pakistani Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She is also the 16th female to win the prize out of a total of 95 awards. Malala jointly shares the 2014 award with 60-year-old Kailash Satyarthi from India – both are active campaigners for children’s rights.
Malala Yousafzai remained humble when accepting the award, and praised the work of her joint winner. She said: “I am proud that I am the first Pakistani, and the first young woman or first young person who is getting this award. It is a great honour for me. I am also really happy that I am sharing this award with a person from India whose name is Kailash Satyarthi and his great work for child rights. His great work against child slavery totally inspired me.”
While it was expected that Malala would win the prestigious award in 2012, she was still a hot favourite in 2013 alongside NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege for his work with survivors of sexual violence.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in their press statemen they had “decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people… Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations.”
Catch her full acceptance speech here:
Malala was the target of Taliban gunmen in 2012, who shot her in the head while she was boarding her school bus. She’d initially started receiving attention in 2009 when she wrote an anonymous blog for BBC highlighting life under Taliban rule in north-west Pakistan with a personal emphasis on the rights of girls’ to education.
After she recovered from the incident, she remained committed to campaigning for children’s educational rights, and has received several important accolades since then including Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In The World, KidsRights’ International Children’s Peace Prize and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2013.
Although Malala now lives in Birmingham, UK, for her own safety, the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called her the “pride” of Pakistan and added: “Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment.”