Malala Yousafzai Given A Nobel Peace Prize

11 October 2014, 05:59 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who lives in Birmingham after she was shot by the Taliban, has become the youngest Nobel prize winner.

The 17-year-old campaigner was jointly awarded the peace prize with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi for her "heroic struggle'' in favour of girls' rights to education.

The teenager, who currently lives in Birmingham, came to prominence after surviving an assassination attempt in October 2012 when her calls for equal rights angered militants in her homeland of Pakistan.

By winning she took the title of youngest Nobel Laureate from Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he was awarded the prize with his father for physics in 1915.

She joined an illustrious roll call of winners of the prestigious peace prize which includes Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a statement, the Nobel Prize committee said: "Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations.

"This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls' rights to education.''

The committee said it was an "important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism''.

It praised Mr Satyarthi for showing "great personal courage, maintaining Gandhi's tradition'' to lead peaceful protests against child exploitation.

They beat a record list of 278 nominees which included US whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis.

The International Space Station Partnership and an anti-war clause in the Japanese constitution were also in the running for the coveted award.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who used the slogan "I am Malala'' to demand all children across the world be in school by the end of 2015 in his position as UN special envoy for education, described them as "the world's greatest children's champions''.

He said: "They are two of my best friends and two of the greatest global campaigners, who deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for their courage, determination and for their vision that no child should ever be left behind and that every child should have the best of chances.

"Kailash's life-long work in India fighting child labour - which I have had the privilege to see at first hand - complements Malala's work standing up for girls' rights to education, from Pakistan to the rest of the world.''

Malala will be awarded her prize with the other winners on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

Besides prize money of eight million Swedish krona (almost #690,000), laureates receive a gold medal and a diploma.

She was just 15 when she was shot in the head in Swat District, in the country's north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Her career as an activist began in early 2009, when she started writing a blog for the BBC about her life under Taliban occupation and promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley.

On October 9 2012 a gunman fired three shots at her after asking for her by name as she travelled home on her school bus.

One of the bullets hit the left side of Malala's forehead, travelled the length of her face through the skin and into her shoulder.

In the days following the attack she remained unconscious and in a critical condition and was flown first to Dubai and then on to Birmingham, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Since her recovery she has spoken before the UN, met the Queen and US president Barack Obama, been named by Time magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people and published her memoir, I am Malala.