“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.” - Malala
Malala Yousafzai, who was born on the 12th July 1997, and is often known just by her first name, Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
In early 2009, when she was 11–12, Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Pakistani Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu.
On 9th October 2012, while on a bus in the Swat District, after taking an exam, Malala and two other girls were shot by a Pakistani Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism but the gunman fled the scene. Malala was hit in the head with a bullet and remained unconscious and in critical condition in a hospital in Pakistan, but her condition later improved enough for her to be transferred to a hospital in Birmingham in the UK.
“If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?” - Malala
The attempt on her life sparked an international outpouring of support for Malala. The German broadcaster ‘Deutsche Welle’ reported in January 2013 that she may have become "the most famous teenager in the world".
“The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.” - Malala
Following her recovery, Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education. Based in Birmingham, she co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organisation with Shiza Shahid.
In 2013, she co-authored I Am Malala, an international best seller.
In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Aged 17 at the time, she was the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.
In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary He Named Me Malala.
The 2013, 2014 and 2015, issues of Time magazine featured her as one of the most influential people globally.
In 2017, she was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship and became the youngest person to address the House of Commons of Canada.
Malala attended Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England from 2013 to 2017, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from the University of Oxford, where she was an undergraduate student of the college Lady Margaret Hall, in 2020.
Malala’s advocacy has grown into an international movement, and according to former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she has become "the most prominent citizen" of the country. She has over 1.8 million followers on Twitter and over 1.6 million followers on Instagram (both @Malala).
“I don't want to be thought of as the 'girl who was shot by the Taliban' but the 'girl who fought for education'. This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.” - Malala