Malala Yousafzai is the Mozart of world peace, and she just found out from her classroom in Birmingham, UK.
Today, at 17 years of age the Pakistani advocate for girls’ education won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient of the prestigious title.
The average age of a Nobel Laureate is 62.
You may have seen Malala’s face peering intently at you from bookshelves, or witnessed her impactful interview last year on the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but if you haven’t experienced the force that is Malala–now’s the time.
As a young teenager in 2012 Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban while helping to campaign for women’s right to an education.
Let’s put that into perspective–at only 15 years old, Malala had enough passion to fight against a society so opposed to her desire to educate herself and the women surrounding her, that she took up arms, and joined in the political battle against the Taliban by standing her ground. All she wanted was to go to school.
That in itself is awe inspiring–but when asked by Jon Stewart–after her injury–what she would say to the terrorist group if she were confronted again by one of it’s members, this was her response:
“I’ll tell him how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well. I’ll tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you; now do what you want.”
Since then Malala has relocated to the UK for safety purposes, though the Pakistani power force has continued to tell her story to the world through interviews her book, entitled I Am Malala.
Malala is a new generation’s symbol of hope. She represents the power of one voice against many, and every man and woman’s inherent right to become educated.
If this is how far Malala has come at such a young age, let us hope that in the course of her lifetime she will witness the upheaval of oppression that she fought against, and see the change in Pakastani women’s rights that she inspired.
Here are a few words from her speech to the United Nations last year:
“Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too.”
“They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed.
“And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”
Kailash Satyarthi was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today for organizing peaceful demonstrations and protests, in the footsteps of Gandhi, focusing “on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.”
What were you doing at age 17? Malala has already made her mark on the world. If you haven’t met her already, click here…