Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education activist and the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Prize. She’s won many other awards, including the Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage, and was considered one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Yousafzai’s family runs a chain of schools in the Swat Valley region in northwestern Pakistan. In 2008 – in response to an attempted Taliban takeover of the area – Malala delivered a speech in Peshawar titled, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” The next year, she wrote a blog post for the BBC in which she discussed the Taliban occupation of her home and her views on education for girls. That summer, she was profiled in the New York Times documentary Class Dismissed: Malala’s Story.
On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai in the head. She survived, and the incident resulted in a wave of international support for Yousafzai and her cause.
Yousafzai was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and won in 2014. In 2015, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon, demanding that leaders around the world invest in “books instead of bullets.”
In 2013, Yousafzai addressed the United Nations – her first speech since the Taliban’s attempt on her life. During the address, she said, “We call upon all communities to be tolerant – to reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender. To ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”