2014 Nobel Peace Prize

2017 Woman of the Year: Malala Yousafzai

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At the tender age of 19, Malala Yousafzai has become a world renowned activist, creating change for tomorrow's children and women of today.

At the tender age of 19, Malala Yousafzai has become a world renowned activist, creating change for tomorrow’s children and women of today.

Born on July 12th 1997 n Mingora, Pakistan, located in the country’s Swat Valley, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has dedicated her life for human rights, education of women. and remains strong in her resolve, even after escaping an assassination attempt by the Taliban at the age of 15.

Yousafzai was born into a Sunni Muslim family of Pashtun origin. She was named after Malalai of Maiwand. Her spirit of activism was largely influenced by her father and mentor, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is an educational activist and poet himself.

Domestic life for Yousafzai began peacefully, but soon changed after the Taliban tried to take control of the area. Her efforts towards human prosperity began in September of 2008 when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club. During her speech, Yousafzai spoke against the schemes of the Taliban in trying to deny her people a right to an education.

In 2009, she began blogging for BBC under the name Gul Makai, in an effort to protect her identity as Yousafzai exposed the injustices imposed by the Taliban. It was due to her growing influence and leadership in the fields of children’s and women’s education that Yousafzai was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Price and was nominated by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011.

While Yousafzai’s popularity was beginning to increase, so were the dangers she faced. Death threats were slipped under the door of her residence. She was also harassed on Facebook. On 9 October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. She was hit with one bullet, which went through her head, neck, and ended in her shoulder.

Though Yousafzai’s wounds were not fatal, she had to undergo a series of operations. Finally in 2013 she began attending school again. Yousafzai received worldwide support after news of the shooting spread, even celebrities such as Madonna and Angelina Jolie brought awareness to Yousafzai’s struggle and mission.

After recovering from the shooting, Yousafzai began reorganizing her work as an activist and advocate for children’s and women’s education. In July 2013, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event “Malala Day.” On 10 October 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her work against discrimination and oppression of children and women. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate. Malala Yousafzai, it is indeed with utmost gratitude and respect that we honor you as 2017 Woman of the Year.

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