When awards are given they frequently create discussion. Is the person worthy of the honor? Should it have been given to someone else? The announcement today that Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have received the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be challenged.
Precisely two years ago Ms. Yousafzai was shot in the head while she sat on a school bus. The Taliban had ordered her execution because she made statements declaring that young women had the right to an education. She was 15 years old. Now at 17 she is the youngest recipient of a Nobel Prize.
Seventeen year old Yousafzai and sixty year old Satyarthi were awarded the Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Kailash Satyarthi followed in the footsteps of his hero Mahatma Gandhi and campaigns for the cessation of the exploitation of children for financial gain.
The Nobel Prize Committee awarded a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, for their efforts to eliminate extremism.
Ms. Yousafzai, known to the world as ‘Malala,’ began her quest for the education of young women when she was 11 years old, as the Taliban were threatening to blow-up schools which allowed female students, and terrorizing the people of her home town, Mingora. They forced students and teachers alike to wear burqas. Now, Malala lives in Birmingham, England. She is attending a local school and lives with her parents and two brothers. The Nobel Prize is the pinnacle of other human rights prizes she has received including the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award.
Mr. Satyarthi began his campaign to end the slavery of children and seek the end of child labor in 1980. He gave up his career as an electrical engineer to travel on a higher path. He is responsible for the rescue of tens of thousands of children and their rehabilitation and education.
The Committee remarked that Malala was better known throughout the world but Mr. Satyarthi has been active for nearly 35 years and courageous in his efforts to free the children of the world; he has dedicated his entire life to the cause.
Malala published her memoire ‘I am Malala’ and became a favorite for the Prize in 2013. When she failed to receive the award speculation arose in 2014 that Pope Francis would be the recipient. The Committee awarded Malala and Mr. Satyarthi this year’s Prize partly as an inspirational message countering the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
Alfred Nobel, who is the founder of the awards intended the peace prize to be given to the individual who excelled at promoting peaceful relations between nations and the avoidance of military confrontations. The Committee has altered its meaning to include efforts pertaining to protecting the environment, fighting poverty and human rights issues.
Malala and Mr. Satyarthi are recognized for: “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. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are worthy of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and the world is a better place because of their efforts.
The New York Times