Malala Yousafzai 'proud' to be Nobel Peace Prize co-winner

Children's rights activist Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan says she is honoured to share this year's Nobel Peace Prize, announced today, with India's Kailash Satyarthi, whose work also involves protecting the interests of young people.

Yousafzai, 17, from Pakistan and now living in England, is youngest winner of a Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize winners react

9 years ago
Duration 2:20
Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi give their thoughts on sharing this year's Nobel Peace Prize

Children's rights activist Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan says she is honoured to share this year's Nobel Peace Prize with India's Kailash Satyarthi, whose work also involves protecting the interests of young people. 

"I'm proud that I'm the first Pakistani and the first young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this  award," Yousafzai, 17, told journalists in Birmingham, England, where she now lives after Norwegian Nobel Committee chair Thorbjørn Jagland announced the honour in Oslo.

She was at school when the announcement was made Friday. Yousafzai is the youngest winner of a Nobel Prize. The previous youngest laureate was British scientist William Lawrence Bragg, who won for physics in 1915 at age 25. 

As for the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Yousafzai eclipses Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, who won in 2011 at 32.

Yousafzai and Satyarthi are being honoured for "their struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education," the committee said. 

The committee said it "regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism."

For her part, Yousafzai said her win is not the end of her campaign for children's education rights. 

She also paid homage to her father.

"I thank my father for not clipping my wings. I thank him for letting me fly."

An outspoken advocate for girls’ education, Yousafzai was critically injured on Oct. 9, 2012, when a gunman shot her in the head while she was riding home on a school bus in the city of Mingora. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

"I had really two options," she said Friday in an impromptu address after the award was announced.

"One was not to speak and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed.

"And I chose the second one, because at that time there was terrorism, women were not allowed to go outside of their houses, 'cause education was totally banned. People were killed. At that time, I needed to raise my voice, because I wanted to go back to school."

Still gets threats

Yousafzai spent three months in a British hospital recovering, and now lives in England with her family. Militants still threaten to kill her if she returns home.

"They wanted to silence one Malala, but instead now, thousands and millions of Malalas are speaking," she told Anna Maria Tremonti, the host of CBC Radio's The Current, in a Canadian exclusive interview that aired in 2013.

Yousafzai's campaigns for girls' education began while she was 11. She started blogging under a pseudonym for the BBC about her love of learning and Taliban oppression in Pakistan, especially its ban on educating girls in her area.

News of her Nobel Peace Prize win touched celebrations in her hometown of Mingora, Pakistan. Students danced at Khushal Public School, which is owned by Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai.

Speaking to The Associated Press, her father said the Nobel honour will "boost the courage of Malala and enhance her capability to work for the cause of girls' education."

Thousands rescued from slavery

Satyarthi, 60, has been active in the children's rights movement  since 1980. His work has led to the rescue of thousands of children from slavery, and he has survived several attempts on his life.

India's Kailash Satyarthi, seen here at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, has been named co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzi. (Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

In maintaining the traditions of Mahatma Gandhi, Satyarthi has "headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the Nobel committee said Friday.

Satyarthi dedicated his win to children in slavery, Reuters reported.

  "It's an honour to all those children still suffering in  slavery, bonded labour and trafficking," Reuters said Satyarthi  told TV news channel CNN-IBN.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said "the prize should be seen as recognition of the contributions of India's vibrant civil society in addressing complex social problems such as child labour."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the world's children were Friday's "true winners." He praised Satyarthi's "heroic work" and Malala's "courage and determination."

"Both Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have demonstrated tremendous courage in the face of powerful adversaries," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The winners were selected from a list of 278 nominees, the highest number of candidates ever. The list included 47 organizations, the Nobel committee said. The previous record was 259 in 2013.

The winners of the prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry and literature were announced earlier this week. The economics award winner will be announced on Monday.

All the Nobel Prizes will be handed out at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

With files from Reuters, The Associated Press