By Anam A.
On October 10th 2014, 17 year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, she is the youngest winner of a Nobel Prize in any field. She is the second Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize and the only Pakistani winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yousafzai is known for her activism in favor of women’s education and human rights, and has also previously received Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize.
Her advocacy was first triggered by the Taliban’s attacks on girls’ schools in Swat, Pakistan in 2008. She gave a speech titled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” and began blogging for the BBC in 2009 under a pseudonym. In spite of the 2012 attack by the Taliban that left her in critical condition, she continues to speak out in favor of women’s rights, and consistently stresses the power of education.
She shares the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, of India, “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Satyarthi is a prominent children’s rights activist, noted for his active opposition to child labor, and he serves on the board and committee of several international organizations committed to putting an end to it. He founded the “Bachpan Bachao Andolan” (Save the Childhood Movement) in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries. He is the second Indian to win the prize after Mother Teresa in 1979.
In regards to their decision, The Nobel Committee has stated that it considers it “an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.” In a press release, they mention that both Yousafzai and Satyarthi’s activism “contributes to the realization of the ‘fraternity between nations,’” one of the original criteria stipulated by Alfred Nobel.
Malala was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, and is the author of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. She is sadly still considered a target by the Taliban.
Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Peace Prize speech below.