The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to Pakistani Malala Yousafzai and Indian Kailash Satyarthi for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” She is the youngest woman ever award the honor.
“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated in a press release. “In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected.”
Taliban militants shot Yousafzai in the head in 2012 for to seeking an education. The Islamist militant group also took issue with her for publishing a blog in 2009 that promoted the right to education.
“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are doing is wrong, that education is our basic right,” Yousafzai said on her website.
After receiving treatment for her injuries in a British hospital, Yousafzai dedicated herself to the cause of education for all. She said being shot had only strengthened her resolve.
“They can only shoot a body, they cannot shoot my dreams,” Yousafzai said. “They shot me because they wanted to tell me that, ‘we want to kill you and to stop you campaigning’, but they did the biggest mistake: they injured me, and they told me through that attack, that even death is supporting me, even death does not want to kill me.”
Yousafzai penned the bestselling book, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban,” and launched The Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on helping girls go to school and promoting their right of education. For her efforts, she has received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Union’s annual human rights award. Previous winners include Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.
To date, only 15 women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate ever.