Malala praised as ‘extraordinary, brave young woman’

Nobel Peace Prize winner a ‘symbol of what it means to stand up for your rights’

Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old student and education activist, has been commended by a number of international development organisations following the announcement earlier today that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala was named winner along with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist.

Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, congratulated Malala on the award, saying the young woman had been "deservedly recognised" by the Nobel Committee.

“The courage she has shown in the face of such adversity is a true inspiration,” said Mr Shetty. “Her actions are a symbol of what it means to stand up for your rights - with a simple demand to fulfil the basic human right to education.”


Chief executive of Plan Ireland David Dalton called Malala's struggle for girls' education "heroic", adding the teenager from Pakistan "richly deserved this accolade".

“This young campaigner has become an inspiration to millions,” he said. “This is an extraordinary, brave young woman who, when faced with death, refused to give up and refused to be silenced.”

Mr Dalton added that this morning’s “timely” announcement falls on the eve of International Day of the Girl, which highlights the needs and rights of girls worldwide.

“We mustn’t forget there are millions of ‘other Malalas’ across the world, a whole generation of girls who are excluded from learning by violence, discrimination or harmful traditional practices,” he said.

Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement Malala was “the pride of Pakistan” and had made her countrymen proud.

“Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled,” said Mr Sharif. “Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment.”

Malala is the youngest ever Nobel winner. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago for insisting girls have the right to an education.

Mr Satyarthi (60) has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since 1980, when he gave up his career as an electrical engineer.

The prize, worth about $1.1 million (€880,000), will be presented in Oslo, Norway on December 10th.

Additional reporting from Agencies

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast