Last updated on April 26, 2015
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been jointly awarded to Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani child education activist who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012.
At 17, Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the prestigious prize, revealing that she learned of her award from her teacher while in chemistry class.
The Nobel Peace Prize, created in 1901 by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, is the highest honor given in the academic world.
Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman, Thorborn Jagland, said in regards to Malala, “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.
“This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”
Now living in Birmingham, Malala said she was “honored” to receive the award and that it made her feel “more powerful and courageous.” During a new conference she said, “I’m really happy to be sharing this award with a person from India.” She believed girls had the right to stay in school to be educated, which the Taliban was against. “My message for children all around the world is that they should stand up for their rights.”
The pair have been praised by the Nobel committee for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”. Mr. Satyarthi has held the traditional role of Mahatma Ganhi, heading various peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.
Sixty-year-old Kailash Satyarthi is founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the Save the Childhood Movement, a campaign for child rights that aims to end human trafficking.