Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their struggle for education and against extremism. The pair were recognised “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” said the Nobel Committee.
Malala, now 17, was shot in the head by Taliban fighters in the Pakistani Swat Valley two years ago and has fought for girls’ rights to education “under the most dangerous circumstances”. After the shooting, Malala was flown to the U.K. for treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. On July 12, her 16th birthday, she delivered a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The U.N. declared it “Malala Day.”
In 2013 Malala founded, alongside her father and close friend Shiza Shahid (herself a social entrepreneur and campaigner for female education and empowerment), the Malala Fund, the New York City-based non-profit which campaigns on behalf of the 600 million adolescent girls worldwide who are denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors.
Malala has received world-wide acclaim and numerous awards for her efforts for women’s rights and education, including the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award.
The 8 million-kronor ($1.1 million) cash award is considered to be one of the most prestigious honours in the world. For more on this story, click here.