Two years and a day after being shot by Taliban gunmen for defying their proscription of girls’ education in the Swat Valley of northern Pakistan, 16-year old Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy of educational access for all, regardless of gender or religion.
She shares the award with Indian children’s rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi who has dedicated his life to the protection of children, particularly in the labor force. Having publicly fought for children’s right to an education before the 2012 assassination attempt outside of her school, through an online blog, and since the attack, Malala has co-written her fearless memoir, I Am Malala; has been an international speaker on human rights; and has been given recognition and awarded several honors for her outspoken defense of children’s rights, such as the National Youth Peace Prize (2014), a Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year Award (2013) and a Clinton Global Citizens Award from the Clinton Foundation (2013). Malala has reached beyond borders to support other victims of gender violence across the world. The first Pakistani citizen and youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala recognized the support of her father in her education and her humanitarian work, claiming, “I thank my father for not clipping my wings. I thank him for letting me fly.”