Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their fight against extremism and work for children’s rights.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Malala, a schoolgirl and education campaigner in Pakistan, is only 17-years-old, and has become the youngest ever winner of a Nobel Prize.
Malala was barely 11 years old when she began championing girls’ education, speaking out in TV interviews. The Taliban had overrun her home town of Mingora, terrorizing residents, threatening to blow up girls’ schools, ordering teachers and students into the all-encompassing burqas.
She was critically injured on Oct. 9, 2012, when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She survived through luck - the bullet did not enter her brain - and by the quick intervention of British doctors who were visiting Pakistan.
Flown to Britain for specialist treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, she underwent numerous surgeries, but made a strong recovery.
Malala currently lives with her father, mother and two brothers in the English city of Birmingham, attending a local school. She has been showered with human rights prizes, including the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award.
She started at her school in the city in March last year.
Malala at school
Agence France-Presse reported that Malala was at her school when she was told she had won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a spokeswoman said.
“Malala is at school as normal today,” she said, adding that the teenager would hold a press conference later on Friday.
Satyarthi, 60, said Friday he was “delighted” to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, calling it “recognition of our fight for child rights.”
Kailash also thanked the Nobel committee for “recognizing the plight of millions of children who are suffering in this modern age,” according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the Nobel committee said.
The Nobel Committee said it “regards it as 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.”
Satyarthi has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1980 when he gave up a career as an electrical engineer.
As a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of tens of thousands of child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.
The founder of the Nobel Prizes, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, said the prize committee should give the prize to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The committee has interpreted those instructions differently over time, widening the concept of peace work to include efforts to improve human rights, fight poverty and clean up the environment.
“The struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will,” the committee said.
The Nobel Prizes in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature were announced earlier this week. The economics award will be announced on Monday.
All awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.
Here is a list of the previous peace prize winners:
2014: Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan)
2013: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
2012: The European Union (EU)
2011: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), Tawakkul Karman (Yemen)
2010: Liu Xiaobo (China)
2009: Barack Obama (US)
2008: Martti Ahtisaari (Finland)
2007: Al Gore (US) and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
2006: Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh) and the Grameen Bank
2005: International Atomic Energy Agency and Mohamed ElBaradei (Egypt)
2004: Wangari Maathai (Kenya)
2003: Shirin Ebadi (Iran)
2002: Jimmy Carter (US)
2001: Kofi Annan (Ghana) and the United Nations
2000: Kim Dae Jung (South Korea)
1999: Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
1998: John Hume and David Trimble (Northern Ireland)
1997: Jody Williams (US) and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
1996: Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta (East Timor)
1995: Joseph Rotblat (Britain) and the Pugwash movement
1994: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres (Israel) and Yasser Arafat (PLO)
1993: Nelson Mandela and Frederik de Klerk (South Africa)
1992: Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemala)
1991: Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma)
1990: Mikhail Gorbachev (Soviet Union)
1989: Dalai Lama (Tibet)
1988: United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
1987: Oscar Arias Sanchez (Costa Rica)
1986: Elie Wiesel (US)
1985: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
1984: Desmond Tutu (South Africa)
1983: Lech Walesa (Poland)
1982: Alva Myrdal (Sweden) and Alfonso Garcia Robles (Mexico)
1981: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1980: Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina)
1979: Mother Teresa (Albania)
1978: Anwar Sadat (Egypt) and Menachem Begin (Israel)
1977: Amnesty International
1976: Betty Williams (Britain) and Mairead Corrigan (Northern Ireland)
1975: Andrei Sakharov (Soviet Union)
1974: Sean MacBride (Ireland) and Eisaku Sato (Japan)
1973: Henry Kissinger (US) and Le Duc Tho (Vietnam, declined)
1972: prize not handed out
1971: Willy Brandt (Germany)
1970: Norman Borlaug (US)
1969: International Labour Organisation
1968: Rene Cassin (France)
1967: prize not handed out
1966: prize not handed out
1965: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
1964: Martin Luther King Jr (US)
1963: International Committee of the Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies
1962: Linus Carl Pauling (US)
1961: Dag Hammarskjoeld (Sweden)
1960: Albert Lutuli (South Africa)
1959: Philip Noel-Baker (Britain)
1958: Georges Pire (Belgium)
1957: Lester Pearson (Canada)
1956: prize not handed out
1955: prize not handed out
1954: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1953: George Marshall (US)
1952: Albert Schweitzer (France)
1951: Leon Jouhaux (France)
1950: Ralph Bunche (US)
1949: Lord (John) Boyd Orr of Brechin (Britain)
1948: prize not handed out
1947: Friends Service Council (The Quakers), American Friends Service Committee (The Quakers)
1946: Emily Greene Balch (US), John Raleigh Mott (US)
1945: Cordell Hull (US)
1944: International Committee of the Red Cross
1943: prize not handed out
1942: prize not handed out
1941: prize not handed out
1940: prize not handed out
1939: prize not handed out
1938: Nansen International Office for Refugees
1937: Viscount Cecil of Chelwood (Britain)
1936: Carlos Saavedra Lamas (Argentina)
1935: Carl von Ossietzky (Germany)
1934: Arthur Henderson (Britain)
1933: Sir Norman Angell (Ralph Lane) (Britain)
1932: prize not handed out
1931: Jane Addams (US) and Nicholas Murray Butler (US)
1930: Nathan Soederblom (Sweden)
1929: Frank Billings Kellogg (US)
1928: prize not handed out
1927: Ferdinand Buisson (France) and Ludwig Quidde (Germany)
1926: Aristide Briand (France) and Gustav Stresemann (Germany)
1925: Sir Austen Chamberlain (Britain) and Charles Gates Dawes (US)
1924: prize not handed out
1923: prize not handed out
1922: Fridtjof Nansen (Norway)
1921: Karl Hjalmar Branting (Sweden) and Christian Lous Lange (Norway)
1920: Leon Victor Auguste Bourgeois (France)
1919: Thomas Woodrow Wilson (US)
1918: prize not handed out
1917: International Committee of the Red Cross
1916: prize not handed out
1915: prize not handed out
1914: prize not handed out
1913: Henri La Fontaine (Belgium)
1912: Elihu Root (US)
1911: Tobias Michael Carel Asser (The Netherlands) and Alfred Hermann Fried (Austria)
1910: Permanent International Peace Bureau
1909: Auguste Marie François Beernaert (Belgium) and Paul Henri Benjamin Balluet, Baron d'Estournelles de Constant de Rebecque (France)
1908: Klas Pontus Arnoldson (Sweden) and Fredrik Bajer (Denmark)
1907: Ernesto Teodoro Moneta (Italy) and Louis Renault (France)
1906: Theodore Roosevelt (US)
1905: Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner (Austria)
1904: Institute of International Law
1903: William Randal Cremer (Britain)
1902: Elie Ducommun (Switzerland) and Charles Albert Gobat (Switzerland)
1901: Jean Henri Dunant (Switzerland) and Frederic Passy (France)
(With Associated Press and AFP)SHOW MORE