17 Year Old Girl Wins Nobel Peace Prize


courtesy of i100: The Independent UK

Malala speaks at the UN.

Grace Almanza, Staff Writer

Malala Yousafzai first won the attention of the world when she suffered through a horrifying experience: while on her way to school in the Northwest Pakistan district of Swat, her bus was stopped by the local Taliban. A gunman then pointed a gun at Malala’s head and asked her to identify herself, before firing three shots. Yousafzi then became an activist for female education and education for children in general. The assassination attempt also sparked huge international support for the young teenage girl: everyone everywhere knew her name, her story, her mission.

A UN petition was launched in her name (which helped launch Pakistan’s first Education Bill), she was included in Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in The World,” and was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. She spoke at the United Nations on her 16th birthday then moved on to the White House, and many more news programs around the nation. She has written an autobiography about her experience, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.”  

And now, in 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Not only is she the youngest in history to win it, but is also only the second recipient from Pakistan.

Even when disregarding her many accomplishments, Malala is still an inspiration to us all. At fourteen, she was shot in the head and survived and continued on to be an advocate for education of women, something not many grown adults would do. Furthermore, she did it in a peaceful manner. There was no raising voices or violent fists; Malala has calmly toured the world and spoken about her mission peacefully.

On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last October, she said: “But then I said ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want’.”

You must not treat others with cruelty and that harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.

— Malala Yousafzai

Her words continued to leave the show host, the audience, and everyone watching at home, speechless. Malala is the kind of activist we should all aspire to be. She has accomplished much at such a young life, changed so many perspectives and ways of living, and she is only 17 years old. Recently, she even told President Obama about her concern regarding drone strikes. There really is no stopping this young woman.

Think about Malala’s story. She is only 17 years old, like many of us in high school right now. We all think we can’t change things or save people because of how young we are, how inexperienced. We are constantly told that we aren’t smart or intelligent, that we only care about ourselves, that we are not a good generation. But look at young teens like Malala, that managed to change lives with pure strength of will. She is proof that no matter how young we are, no matter our circumstances, we can do anything.