Introducing the youngest Nobel peace prize winner: Malala Yousafzai
Table of Contents
- Introducing the youngest Nobel peace prize winner: Malala Yousafzai
- Malala Yousafzai family: A small and well-educated family with a different vision
- How did Malala become the youngest Nobel peace prize winner?
- Malala won dozens of awards and millions of hearts
Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani education activist. She was shot by a Taliban gunman in her head who was against her campaigns of right to education when she was just 14 years old. This incident caught global attention. However, she was quickly rushed to the hospital, where after many surgeries and long treatment, she recovered with new strength and stronger fighting spirits. She became more confident than ever and she believed God has some purpose in her life. She didn’t give up on her mission even after the terrible incident. She has been advocating for education rights despite her life-threatening experiences.
At present, Malala is actively engaged as an education rights activist and has also given speeches in the United Nations. Malala received a Nobel prize when she was just 17 years old making her the youngest person to receive a Nobel prize to date. She has written many motivating books as well.
Malala Yousafzai family: A small and well-educated family with a different vision
Malala was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan. She has a well-educated family. She has a small family of five members which includes her two brothers, her mom, and her dad. Atal Yousafzai and Khushal Yousafzai are her two brothers. Her father is Ziauddin Yousafzai who himself is a social activist and educator. He has been continuously supporting girls’ education. He used to run a school for girls in Pakistan before he migrated to the UK. Her mother is Toor Pekai Yousafzai who has been supporting her family in every decision.
Malala had joined her father’s school in Pakistan for her primary education. When she was just 9 years old, the Taliban shut down many schools in her area including the school she was reading in. The political clash between the Pakistani army and the Taliban was on the rise at that time. Taliban were the militant groups that emerged in northern Pakistan during the early 1990s and quickly rose to power during the decade of 1994.
In the name of restoring peace in the society, the Taliban started imposing Islamic law. They knew education was the main threat for them and shut down many schools. They started threatening people and attacking several places. To control them, the Pakistani army planned an attack and killed many Taliban. The attack couldn’t completely wipe out the Taliban, instead, they grew more fierce and were constantly seeking for revenge. They continued imposing threats on people and shutting down schools in many areas. 11 years old Malala wrote blogs for BBC about her life under the Taliban and how she was against their threat to deny her education.
Although initially Malala had kept her identity secret and presented herself as Gul Makai during blogging, her identity gradually got revealed in December 2009. She then publicly started her activism for education. The following year in 2011, she even got awarded with Pakistan’s national youth peace award. But along with the growing public attention, she became a major target of Taliban who were against her campaigns and she was constantly receiving life threats to stop her activities.
Malala Yousafzai shot by Taliban on the head
On 9th October, while she was returning from her exams, an armed mask man boarded her bus and started inquiring about Malala. After identifying her, Malala Yousafzai was shot by the masked man in her head. The bullet was shot in the left side of her head which passed to her neck. Along with Malala, two other girls were also injured in the incident.
Malala was quickly taken to a military hospital in Peshawar after she was shot in her head by the Taliban. But her condition was critically bad. The doctors tried to control swelling of her brain and then she was transferred to Birmingham, England for further treatment. Luckily Malala suffered no major brain injuries and she recovered from a coma in three days. However, she had to undergo many surgeries to get the bullet removed from her neck. She also had to undergo another surgery of her facial nerve since her left side of her face was paralyzed after the incident.
The shooting incident caught global attention. There was massive support pouring down for Malala. People were literally praying in different places for her recovery. Malala completely recovered in 2013 and was even able to go to school. The attackers attacked Malala physically but her determination and confidence had climbed a peak. She even fought her destiny and survived the deadliest attack. The attack gave her strength to fight death, she was stronger than ever, she was born again with the strongest heart one could ever imagine.
To date, no one has ever received the Nobel Peace Prize at such a small age. This makes her the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize was equally divided between Malala and her co-recipient, Kailash Satyarthi “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.
As an honor, Oxford university decided to offer her the opportunity of higher education. There she is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Malala has continuously been working on her vision and mission regarding education rights. To continue supporting education, Malala has opened the Malala Fund. The fund in its launching year was able to collect $7 million which was spent to construct schools for girls in Pakistan.
Malala has won the hearts of many people. She has received dozens of awards and honors for her efforts and contributions to the right to education. She has received many national and international awards. They are listed below:
- 2011: International Children’s Peace Prize (nominee)
- 2011: National Youth Peace Prize
- January 2012: Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage
- October 2012: Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan’s third-highest civilian bravery award
- November 2012: Foreign Policy magazine top 100 global thinker
- December 2012: Time magazine Person of the Year shortlist for 2012
- November 2012: Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice
- December 2012: Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action
- January 2013: Top Name in Annual Survey of Global English in 2012
- January 2013: Simone de Beauvoir Prize
- March 2013: Memminger Freiheitspreis 1525 (conferred on 7 December 2013 in Oxford)
- March 2013: Doughty Street Advocacy award of Index on Censorship
- March 2013: Fred and Anne Jarvis Award of the UK National Union of Teachers
- April 2013: Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, Global Trailblazer
- April 2013: One of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”
- May 2013: Premi Internacional Catalunya Award of Catalonia, May 2013
- June 2013: Annual Award for Development of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
- June 2013: International Campaigner of the Year, 2013 Observer Ethical Awards
- August 2013: Tipperary International Peace Award for 2012, Ireland Tipperary Peace Convention
- 2013: Portrait of Yousafzai by Jonathan Yeo displayed at National Portrait Gallery, London
- September 2013: Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International
- 2013: International Children’s Peace Prize
- 2013: Clinton Global Citizen Awards from Clinton Foundation
- September 2013: Harvard Foundation’s Peter Gomes Humanitarian Award from Harvard University
- 2013: Anna Politkovskaya Award – Reach All Women in War
- 2013: Reflections of Hope Award – Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
- 2013: Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought – awarded by the European Parliament
- 2013: Honorary Master of Arts degree awarded by the University of Edinburgh
- 2013: Pride of Britain (October)
- 2013: Glamour magazine Woman of the Year
- 2013: GG2 Hammer Award at GG2 Leadership Awards (November)
- 2013: International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination
- 2014: Nominee for World Children’s Prize also known as Children’s Nobel Prize
- 2014: Awarded Honorary Life Membership by the PSEU (Ireland)
- 2014: Skoll Global Treasure Award
- 2014: Honorary Doctor of Civil Law, University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
- 2014: 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Kailash Satyarthi
- 2014: Philadelphia Liberty Medal
- 2014: One of Time Magazine “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014”
- 2014: Honorary Canadian citizenship
- 2015: Asteroid 316201 Malala named in her honor.
- 2016: Honorary President of The Students’ Union of the University of Sheffield
- 2016: Order of the Smile
- 2017: Youngest ever United Nations Messenger of Peace
- 2017: Received honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa
- 2017: Ellis Island International Medal of Honor
- 2017: Wonk of the Year 2017 from American University
- 2017: Harper’s Bazaar inducted Malala in the list of “150 of the most influential female leaders in the UK”.
- 2018: Advisor to Princess Zebunisa of Swat, Swat Relief Initiative Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey
- 2018: Gleitsman Award from the Center for the Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School
- 2019: For their first match of March 2019, the women of the United States women’s national soccer team each wore a jersey with the name of a woman they were honored on the back; Carli Lloyd chose the name of Yousafzai.
Hence, Malala Yousafzai can be taken as the prominent figure of inspiration to many ladies out there. The Tale of Malala needs to reach every nook and corner of the world. Every woman should realize their worth and know what they are capable of. Malala, through her struggle and the most inspiring journey of her, has shown how a single determined woman, can change the face of the world and the lives of millions.