Malala Yousafzai


Malala Yousafzai became an international symbol of the fight for girls’ education after she was shot in 2012 for opposing Taliban restrictions on female education in her hometown Swat, Pakistan. In 2009, Malala had begun writing a blog under a pseudonym ‘Gul Makai’ about the increasing military activity in her home town and about fears that her school would be attacked. After her identity was revealed, Malala and her father Ziauddin continued to speak out for the right to education. The Taliban’s attack on Malala on 9 October 2012 as she was returning home from school with her friends received worldwide condemnation. In Pakistan, over 2 million people signed a right to education petition, and the National Assembly ratified Pakistan’s first Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill. In 2013, Malala and her father co-founded the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to demand change. In December 2014, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Secretary-General António Guterres designated Malala as a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2017 to help raise awareness of the importance of girl’s education. With various national and international recognitions, she is also the recepient of Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan’s second highest civilian award for bravery, in 2012.