17-year-old Pakistani human rights activist awarded Nobel Peace Prize
The Pope and Edward Snowden go unawarded
This week in Oslo, the Nobel Prize winners in various categories have been announced – yesterday, French novelist Patrick Modiano won the prize for literature and today the category that everyone is familiar with – the Nobel Peace Prize was announced.
Among the 278 applicants for the prestigious award were Vladimir Putin, Angelina Jolie, Pope Francis and Edward Snowden. The latter two were considered the bookmakers favourites. However, the Nobel Committee did the unexpected and awarded the prize to the 17-year-old Pakistani activist and the Indian children's rights crusader Kailash Satyarthi.
Yousafzai is now the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner at the tender age of seventeen.
60-year-old Satyarthi and Yousafzai were awarded for their struggle against the oppression of children and young people, and their campaigns for the right for all children to have access to an education, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
"The Nobel Committee regards it as 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," said the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland.
In 2012 Yousafzai was attacked on a school bus in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan by masked gunmen who were angry with her for starting her – now famous – blog for the BBC's Urdu service, which she first started aged 11 in order to campaign against the Taliban's efforts to deny women an education. She was shot in the head during the harrowing attack and unable to return to her homeland after her recovery, she moved to the UK and set up the Malala Fund in her name – with the mission to support local education advocacy groups, focussing on Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya.
Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer in 1980 so that he could solely focus on campaigning against child labour. He has lead a plethora of peaceful protests and demonstrations, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain.
"It's an honour to all those children still suffering in slavery, bonded labour and trafficking," Satyarthi told CNN-IBN when he learnt he had won the prestigious prize.
17-year-old Yousafzai famously addressed the U.N. Youth Assembly last year, in an event the secretary general Ban Ki-moon called 'Malala Day'. This year she also visited Nigeria to demand the release of 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram, for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign with Michelle Obama.
"To the girls of Nigeria and across Africa, and all over the world, I want to say: don't let anyone tell you that you are weaker than or less than anything," she said in a speech.
"You are not less than a boy," Yousafzai said. "You are not less than a child from a richer or more powerful country. You are the future of your country. You are going to build it strong. It is you who can lead the charge."
The prize is worth around $1.1 million and will be awarded December 10.
Yousafzai kicks the previous youngest Nobel Prize winner off of the Guinness Records list – 25-year-old Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who shared the Physics Prize with his father back in 1915.