Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Grace Zhao, Staff Writer


Ellen Degeneres’ new celebrity friend and inspiration is only seventeen years old. Her name is Malala, and she is far from the average teenager. Most seventeen-year olds spend their free time texting their friends or going to see a movie. Their greatest fear may be spiders or the dark- but not getting shot in the head. Even after being shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai remained a staunch advocate for importance of education for young women. Two years later, she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Born in Pakistan’s Swat valley, Malala was raised by parents who strongly supported her and her education. After the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in Swat, Malala gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”.

A year later, she began actively protesting against the Taliban’s actions through social media. Malala began blogging for BBC at the age of eleven. She used her platform to speak out against the prevention of education.

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice; those who have fought for their rights: their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” Malala said. However, at the age of fourteen, she discovered that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her.

“I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ 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 much 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.’” Malala said.

Malala’s strength and determination won her the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10, 2014. Since then, she has received much commendation from many celebrities, including Ellen Degeneres. Ellen tweeted to Malala, “Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m astonished by her bravery. We should all be more like Malala.”

Others, such as the Queen of England met and congratulated Malala as well. Mahatma Gandhi’s family has expressed their appreciation for her peaceful protesting. Michelle Obama, Reese Witherspoon, and Alicia Keys have also praised Malala for her actions. The Nobel Peace Prize monetary award, 1.2 million dollars, will be split among Malala and her fellow award winner, Kailash Satyarthi.