OSLO: Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, made a high-level peacemaking move after sharing the award with India’s Kailash Satyarthi for championing children’s rights.
The 17-year-old girls’ education activist — who heard of her win during a chemistry lesson at her school in Birmingham, England — invited the prime ministers of oft-warring India and Pakistan to the ceremony in Oslo in December when she and the 60-year-old Indian activist will receive the award.
“The award is for all the children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard,” she told a press conference held at the end of the school day so she wouldn’t miss class.
Malala has lived in Britain since she was brought there for treatment after being shot in the head in 2012 by the Taliban near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley for her advocacy of the right of girls to go to school.
The selection of such a young winner was bound to make headlines, but it also came amid news that 17 civilians died in the worst violence in decades in the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.
Malala did not miss the significance of the moment, paying tribute to her co-winner anti-child labour activist Satyarthi and inviting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to celebrate their joint win.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the duo had been chosen for their struggle against the repression of children and young people and “for the right of all children to education”.
“Through her heroic struggle Malala has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education,” the committee said.
Standing on a box so she could reach the podium, the teenager joked that the Nobel would not help in her exams or in arguments with her young brothers. And she paid emotional tribute to her father, “who did not clip my wings”.