Teenage Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai has won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
The 17-year-old shares this year’s prize with the Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.
The duo were named winners of the $1.1 million prize by the chairman of the Nobel committee, former Norwegian Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, on Friday.
Malala is the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and she was praised by the committee for her “heroic struggle” in campaigning for every girls’ right to an education.
She came to prominence in 2012 when she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as she made her way to school. She had been targeted for a high-profile campaign demanding education for all girls in Pakistan.
Her plight captured the world’s imagination and she was later flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for specialist treatment. She now lives with her family in the West Midlands city.
After her recovery, Malala has continued with her campaign, establishing the Malala Fund and receiving the backing of high-profile personalities such as Angelina Jolie.
She has addressed the United Nations, met with president Barack Obama and was named in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’.
In a statement, the committee said: “Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations.
“This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”
Satyarthi, 60, is the founder of India’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan movement which campaigns against child labour in India.
Founded in the early 90’s, the movement has saved tens of thousands of children from various forms of forced labour and helped in their rehabilitation and education.
Satyarthi, the Nobel committee said, had maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain”.
The Nobel 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.”
Malala and Satyarthi were chosen from among a record 278 nominations this year, including American whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis.
The Nobel Peace Prize, named after the wealthy Swedish inventor of dynamite – Alfred Nobel, is granted individuals who “have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind”.