In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”
As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan, attending school herself and anonymously blogging and advocating for the education of girls. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”
In early 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban’s threats to deny her an education. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai.
She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 as she was traveling home from school. She was transferred to Birmingham, England, where she received numerous surgeries including the repair of a facial nerve which had paralyzed half of her face. She survived, and became an international spokesperson on the importance of education. She is continuing her own education in England.
In a show of loyalty to her personal mission, as she became an international “star” for her trials and her courage, Malala has turned down speaking engagements and travel to continue attending school.
Unfortunately, the Taliban still considers Yousafzai a target.