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At 17, Malala becomes the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history

At 17, Malala becomes the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history


Pakistani teenager shares honor with Kailash Satyarthi for their work advocating the rights of children

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Kailash Satyarthi and 17-year-old Malala Yousafzay have won this year's Nobel Peace Prize "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the decision at a press conference today in Oslo. Satyarthi, an Indian, and Yousafzay, from Pakistan, will share an award of 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million). With today's award, Yousafzay — widely referred to simply as Malala — becomes the youngest to ever win the Peace Prize.

"The Nobel Committee 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," the organization said in a statement Friday morning.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee received a record 278 nominations for this year's Peace Prize, including Pope Francis, Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Malala was widely touted as a favorite to win last year, before the Committee awarded the honor to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for their work in dismantling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's arsenal of chemical weapons.

The teenager garnered international attention in 2012, when she was shot in the head by Taliban gunman for supporting girls' rights to education. The attack left Malala fighting for her life, but she survived and went on to become a global advocate for the education of women. In 2013, she delivered an impassioned speech to the United Nations in New York, and created the Malala Fund to help empower young women around the world.

Satyarthi, 60, has spent decades campaigning against child labor. Since its founding in 1989, his organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, has focused on providing education and protection to disadvantaged children. He has also played a major role in developing global conventions on children's rights. In its press release, the Nobel Committee praised Satyarthi for "maintaining Gandhi's tradition" of peaceful protest and campaigning. (Mahatma Gandhi is also among the most glaring omissions from the list of Peace Prize winners.)

The first Peace Prize was awarded in 1901, as established in the will of Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Prior to today's announcement, the youngest to ever win the award was Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, at 32.