17-Year-Old Malala Yousafazai Wins 2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Young People Can Impact the World
Malala Yousafazai’s fame began with her passionate diary entries detailing her love for education and her hopes for the continuation of girls’ education. Her diary was eventually published on BBC Urdu under a false name. From a young age, Malala became actively involved in speaking up for a woman’s right to education in her home country of Pakistan. In Pakistan, the Taliban was threatening girls who were pursuing an education, and the institutions that offered women education. Malala responded by giving speeches in her home country and at only the age of 14 she received the Children’s Peace Prize, and Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
After her name was revealed to the world as the girl behind the globally famous blog detailing the life of a Pakistani schoolgirl pursuing education under Taliban rule, the Taliban issued a death warrant for 15 year old Malala. A Taliban gunman tried to carry out the death warrant in October of 2012 when he shot Malala in the head on her way home from school. Miraculously, Malala survived the horrifying incident and to this day she continues to be an active advocate for educational equality not only in Pakistan, but anywhere where the right to education is being taken from the people. Her autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, continues to spread her story across the world and inspire change in educationally oppressed areas.
Malala was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. Although she was favored by many to win, she did not receive it. However, at the age of 17 Malala was nominated again in March of 2014 and in early October of the same year, it was announced that Malala, along with Indian child rights and anti-human sex trafficking activist Kailash Satyarthi, would be receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Out of the 95 Nobel Peace Prizes that have ever been awarded, Malala is the 16th women to be a recipient of one. The Norwegian Nobel committee believes their choice of recipients to be significant because of the unity created by Malala, a Muslim and a Pakistani, and Mr. Satyarthi, a Hindu and an Indian. Both were recognized for their dedication to fighting against the extremism that threatens their people’s rights.
Despite her youth and the extreme difficulty of the circumstances she grew up in, Malala Yousafazai is changing the world with her love for education and the vibrant spirit she puts forth when fighting for the rights of girls, and all people experiencing oppression. Malala is still seen as a target by the Taliban, but she is undaunted by their threats and continues to impact the world every day with her resilience.
So next time somebody tells you that you’re just a dumb kid without any power, think of Malala and the way she is changing the world while still in her teens. Even though you are young, you are powerful and your voice matters. You don’t even have to have a high school degree to make the world a better place. All it takes to have a positive effect on the world is a willingness to stand up and fight for what you believe in, no matter what anyone says, whether it be your family, friends, or a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group.