Malala Yousafzai

“I truly believe that the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but also our hearts and souls.”

Malala Yousafzai, Political Activist, 1997-present

Malala, as she is known, is a Pakistani activist for female education and human rights who is the youngest person in the world to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. She came to prominence around the globe when she was shot in the head by Taliban forces for her political stance for girls’ education rights. 

Born in a small Pakistani village, her father was a teacher and ran the local girl’s school. When she was 11, Taliban extremists closed the school, banning the education of girls and women, along with music and television. 

Her father took her to a press club where she delivered her first speech, called “How Dare the Taliban Take Away my Basic Right to Education?” The BBC approached her to blog about daily life under the Taliban which she did—under a nom-de-plume. A New York Times reporter collaborated with her on a documentary film about her school’s closure, Class Dismissed, which was widely recognized. Malala continued to lobby for girls education through television appearances and diplomatic meetings, and the Taliban eventually relented, allowing girls to attend school on the condition that they wear burkas. At the same time it became apparent that Malala was the BBC blogger.

When Malala was 15, a Taliban spokesman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, and shot her point blank. She was airlifted to a hospital in Birmingham, UK, and survived. 

Resettling in England, Malala’s first public appearance after the assassination attempt was at The United Nations in New York, where she gave a speech. Malala and her father went on to establish The Malala Fund, a charity that works for equal opportunity for girls education around the world. It was for the work she does through the Fund that she received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014, becoming the youngest Nobel Laureate ever. 

Her memoir, I am Malala: How One Girl Stood up for Education and Changed the World, describing her life living as a teenager under Taliban rule, is a New York Times bestseller.


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