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#HeNamedMeMalala: New film shows Nobel Prize Winner’s personal struggles and triumphs.

Most people know teenage Pakistani education campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai but few have heard of the 19th century Afghan heroine she was named after.

According to Pashtun tradition, Malalai of Maiwand spurred her countrymen to victory against British troops in 1880, taking to the battlefield to rally a demoralised Afghan force with a verse about martyrdom.

She was later struck down and killed.

The legend is recounted in "He Named Me Malala", a new documentary about Yousafzai, now 18, whose attack while riding a school bus shocked the world.

"You named her after a girl who spoke out and was killed. It's almost as if you said she'd be different," director Davis Guggenheim tells Yousafzai's father, Ziauddin, in the film.

"You're right," he replies.

Filmed over 18 months, the intimate portrait shows a teenager more at ease on the world stage - speaking at U.N. headquarters in New York - or addressing students in Syrian refugee camps than with classmates in Britain where she was flown for surgery.

"In this new school, it's hard," she says, admitting a lack of shared experiences with the other girls.

While much is known about the advocacy work carried out by Yousafzai – who was shot and almost killed by the Pakistani Taliban in October 2012 for calling for girls to go to school - the documentary lifts the lid on her family life in Birmingham with much humour generated by her two brothers.

"She's a little bit naughty," says Yousafzai's youngest brother, who she introduces as "a good boy" in contrast to her other brother who she calls "the laziest one".

She giggles when asked if she would ever ask a boy on a date.

Using archive footage and voice recordings of Islamist leader Fazlullah, the documentary captures the steady crackdown on freedoms in Yousafzai's native Swat Valley, including schools destroyed by bombs and music CDs burned.

Encouraged by her teacher father, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC at the age of 11. Writing anonymously, she described life under the harsh edicts of the Taliban, bombed-out schools, executions under the cover of dark and girls' education limited to reading the Koran.

She later made public appearances in Swat Valley, calling for girls' right to an education.

"My father and my mother both inspired me to believe in myself. In a society where women's rights are not respected, my parents gave me examples," Yousafzai said at a screening of the documentary in Washington DC this week.

"There's a moment where you have to choose to be silent or to stand up," she says in the film. "My father only gave me the name Malala, he didn't make me Malala. I chose this life and now I must continue it."

Ziauddin Yousafzai said the film was not the story of one family but millions suffering because of war and conflict, adding that millions of Syrian children had been deprived of an education.

"When you meet these girls, their passion and taste for education it is remarkable. They want to learn," he said in Washington.

"In the global south, in developing countries, most of the children fight every day to get educated. Many families have sold their whole property – their cows, their farm and everything to get their children educated."

Yousafzai's Malala Fund, which supports girls' secondary education, wants the film to be shown in schools to inspire students to stand against bullying, racism and human rights violations.

The movie opens in theatres in the United States from Oct. 2 before it is released in Britain on 6 November.

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#TeachersMatter: Billionaire Sunny Varkey’s education ‘Nobel’ to raise status of teachers

On 16 March, an inspirational teacher will be awarded the inaugural Global Teacher Prize, a competition designed to raise the status of the teaching profession and which is being described as the 'Nobel Prize' for education.

After thousands of entries were submitted from across the globe, a fifty-strong long-list has been whittled down to a final list of 10 which includes teachers from as far afield as England, the United States, Haiti, Kenya, East Timor, Afghanistan and India.

The ten finalists have all been praised for their innovation in the classroom, engagement with the community beyond the school gates, impact on children as well as their contributions to the profession of teaching.

The winner of the $1 million will be chosen by the Global Teacher Prize Academy which is made up of head-teachers, education experts, journalists, public officials, scientists and entrepreneurs from around the globe.

Among the finalists are Kiran Bir Sethi from India and Malaysian national Madanjit singh.

Ms Sethi is the founder of the groundbreaking Riverside School in Ahmedabad which has been widely lauded for its focus on 'Design Thinking' - encouraging students to understand empathetically and not just intellectually.

The policy aims to nurture collaboration and the creation of future 'citizen leaders' and aims to have an impact on the wider community by promoting the celebration of childhood.

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#Magic: Kailash Satyarthi – De-Mistifying the Nobel Laureate

Kailash Satyarthi was 55 years of age when he first had the opportunity to pose for a picture with a Nobel laureate - nearly three decades after he began his crusade against child slavery in his native India.

It was a "magical" moment, the 60-year-old tells me. 

So these days, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner doles out magic without hesitation to those who want to take a picture with him - and the stream of eager fans is unrelenting, from fellow Nobel Laureate Barack Obama to journalists who usually eschew taking pictures with interviewees. 

He is de-mistifying the Nobel Laureate.

With Mr Satyarthi there is none of the posing tactics employed by "celebrities" - no glancing away at the distance, no attempt at flexing facial muscles to get the stare just right, and when he drapes his arm around your shoulder there is genuine warmth in his embrace.

He's had nearly forty years to perfect that embrace, one which has provided instant comfort to the innumerable innocent men, women and children he's saved from servitude in India since giving up a career as an Electrical Engineer in the early 1980's to establish Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA - "Save Childhood Movement").

Mr Satyarthi and his grassroots campaign have since spearheaded the fight against child slavery in India, which is home to nearly half of all the world's child slaves - a battle that can only be compared to trying to paddle a boat made of Papier Mache into an approaching tidal wave.

India's capacity to thrill and inspire is matched only by its ability to leave you utterly dismayed and hopeless - from the depraved treatment of its women, the desperation of its poor to the scene of a man clad in just a pair of old boxer shorts being lowered into a filthy sewer to clean out a blockage with his bare hands which I witnessed during a visit to Delhi some years ago. 

Just because, as an "untouchable", society required him to do such work.

It is the sort of depravity that Mr Satyarthi has witnessed first-hand during his work with BBA over the last 32 years, saving India's most down-trodden, most desperate and most hopeless.   

And yet the one quality that he exudes above the myriad others - serenity, dignity, wisdom, ad infinitum - is his unbridled optimism.  

Alfred Nobel meant for the prize named after him to honour those who "encouraged fraternity between nations, who worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

In the age of Islamic State, of unilateral military action, of "shock and awe" and of record defence budgets, the Nobel Peace Prize is given those who promote the hope that Alfred Nobel held so dear.

Few embody that sense of hope than Kailash Satyarthi.

I caught up with Mr Satyarthi as he prepared to deliver the key note speech at this year's British Asian Trust gala.

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#Magic: Kailash Satyarthi – De-Mistifying the Nobel Laureate

Kailash Satyarthi was 55 years of age when he first had the opportunity to pose for a picture with a Nobel laureate - nearly three decades after he began his crusade against child slavery in his native India.

It was a "magical" moment, the 60-year-old tells me. 

So these days, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner doles out magic without hesitation to those who want to take a picture with him - and the stream of eager fans is unrelenting, from fellow Nobel Laureate Barack Obama to journalists who usually eschew taking pictures with interviewees. 

He is de-mistifying the Nobel Laureate.

With Mr Satyarthi there is none of the posing tactics employed by "celebrities" - no glancing away at the distance, no attempt at flexing facial muscles to get the stare just right, and when he drapes his arm around your shoulder there is genuine warmth in his embrace.

He's had nearly forty years to perfect that embrace, one which has provided instant comfort to the innumerable innocent men, women and children he's saved from servitude in India since giving up a career as an Electrical Engineer in the early 1980's to establish Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA - "Save Childhood Movement").

Mr Satyarthi and his grassroots campaign have since spearheaded the fight against child slavery in India, which is home to nearly half of all the world's child slaves - a battle that can only be compared to trying to paddle a boat made of Papier Mache into an approaching tidal wave.

India's capacity to thrill and inspire is matched only by its ability to leave you utterly dismayed and hopeless - from the depraved treatment of its women, the desperation of its poor to the scene of a man clad in just a pair of old boxer shorts being lowered into a filthy sewer to clean out a blockage with his bare hands which I witnessed during a visit to Delhi some years ago. 

Just because, as an "untouchable", society required him to do such work.

It is the sort of depravity that Mr Satyarthi has witnessed first-hand during his work with BBA over the last 32 years, saving India's most down-trodden, most desperate and most hopeless.   

And yet the one quality that he exudes above the myriad others - serenity, dignity, wisdom, ad infinitum - is his unbridled optimism and hope. 

Alfred Nobel meant for the prize named after him to honour those who "encouraged fraternity between nations, who worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

In the age of Islamic State, of unilateral military action, of "shock and awe" and of record defence budgets, the Nobel Peace Prize is given those who promote the hope that Alfred Nobel held so dear.

Few embody that sense of hope than Kailash Satyarthi.

I caught up with Mr Satyarthi as he prepared to deliver the key note speech at this year's British Asian Trust gala.

Read More »

#VIDEO: ‘There are many purposes I would die for. None I would kill for’. Malala, Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize.

Teenage Pakistani education rights activist Malala Yousafzai today became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate after officially receiving the prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

The 17-year-old showed no signs of nerves as she received the 24-carat Nobel medal and diploma alongside co-winner Kailash Satyarthi, the renowned Indian children’s rights campaigner, before an audience that included members of the Norwegian royal family as well as a slew of celebrities including rocker Steven Tyler and actress and rapper Queen Latifah.

Malala didn’t bat an eyelid even as she was interrupted by a young student wielding a Mexican flag. 

The young man is believed to have arrived claiming asylum in Norway earlier this week but had somehow managed to enter the venue despite tight security.

Whilst there hasn’t been confirmation about what he was protesting about, it is believed that he wanted to raise the issue of the 43 Mexican students recently kidnapped and murdered by a drug cartel.

Before the disruption, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee had spoken about Malala and Satyarthi’s shared values.

Thorbjorn Jagland said: "Satyarthi and Yousafzai are precisely the people whom Alfred Nobel in his will calls 'champions of peace'.  A young girl and a somewhat older man, one from Pakistan and one from India, one Muslim, the other Hindu; both symbols of what the world needs: more unity. Fraternity between the nations.”

Mr Jagland also invoked the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and how both Satyarthi and Yousafzai were perpetuating his teachings.

"The two whom we honour here today stand very firm on this point.  They live according to a principle Mahatma Gandhi gave expression to.  He said: 'There are many purposes I would have died for.  There are no purposes I would have killed for'".

In its official citation, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee said Ms Yousafzai and Mr Satyarthi were honoured for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.

Hours before the ceremony Malala had declared her ambition of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Accepting her award, she showed she certainly the confidence and public speaking skills for the job, moving many in the audience – including Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit - to tears whilst also eliciting plenty of laughs. 

“I’m humbled that the Nobel Committee has selected me for this precious award.  I’m very proud to be the first Pashtu and first Pakistani to receive this award.  Along with that, I’m pretty certain that I’m the first recipient who still fights with her younger brothers”, she said. 

“I want peace everywhere but my brothers and I are still working on that”, Malala added.

Dressed in a grey sweater over her orange Shalwar Kameez and veiled in a simple salmon-coloured shawl, Malala thanked her father for “not clipping my wings and letting me fly”, which attracted rapturous applause. 

Satyarthi - who has campaigned for children’s rights for “twice as long as I have lived”, as described by Malala – said: "There is no greater violence than to deny the dreams of our children.

"I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom”.

The two campaigners will share the $1.4 million dollar prize.

Watch the full ceremony here:

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#Laureates: Meet the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

As the sound of gunfire erupted along the international border between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be shared between a teenage Pakistani education activist and an Indian children's rights campaigner.

People in Malala's hometown of Mingora in Pakistan's beautiful and restive Swat valley, celebrated the fact that a young woman from their conservative society had won such a prestigious honour.

"This is a moment of great honour for us, and the people of Swat and the people of Pakistan," said Tariq Khan, a medical official, told Reuters.

Malala's success could bring real change to a region where women are expected to keep silent and stay behind closed doors. 

Change may be slow, but Malala's win is bound to inspire girls in the region to pursue education and become independent.

Just a few years ago, the region was overrun by Taliban insurgents who tried to impose strict Islamic rule and ban women from seeking education.  Eventually, the Pakistani army drove them away, but tensions are still high in the strategic region.

Under the Taliban, teenaged Malala kept an anonymous blog describing her experiences under the austere Islamist regime, calling on other girls to study and develop their own opinions.

"The Taliban want to imprison women in homes. They don't want their faces to be seen, they don't want women to make their mark," said Aziz Ullah, a store owner in Mingora.

"Malala said, 'No. women will not sit at home. They will go out, they will study, they will do something big.' So they shot her. And I know they will try to do it again, now that she has won this big award."

Malala shot to global prominence when she was shot by Taliban gunmen as she made her way to school.

She was later flown for specialist treatment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she now resides, unable to return to Mingora because of threats by the Taliban to kill her and her family. 

The current chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, was the one who ordered the 2012 attack against her.

Despite its conservative reputation, most people in the region want their daughters to go to school.

"I have sent all my daughters and grand-daughters to school.  Why would I be against Malala?  Swatis are a very proud people who have always believed in education", said Akal Zada, a restaurant owner.

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#Honour: Malala is youngest-ever winner of Nobel Peace Prize

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, …

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