Teen wins Nobel Peace Prize, youngest winner ever
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India have won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for risking their lives to fight for children's rights. The announcement made Malala, a 17-year-old student and education activist, the youngest-ever Nobel winner.
The news set off celebrations on the streets of Mingora, the main town in Pakistan's volatile Swat Valley, with residents greeting each other and distributing sweets. At the town's Khushal Public School, which is owned by Malala's father, students danced in celebration.
Two years ago, when she was a student there, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for insisting that girls as well as boys have the right to an education. Thanks to the help of British medical care, she survived several operations and now continues both her activism and her studies.
Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, said the decision will further the rights of girls.
"(The Nobel will) boost the courage of Malala and enhance her capability to work for the cause of girls' education," he told the AP.
Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the decision "has given pride to the whole of Pakistan."
The second recipient of the prize, Satyarthi, 60, has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1980. That's when he gave up his career as an electrical engineer. He has since led the rescue of tens of thousands of child slaves and developed a model for their education and rehabilitation. He has also survived several attempts on his life.
"Child slavery is a crime against humanity. Humanity itself is at stake here. A lot of work still remains but I will see the end of child labor in my lifetime," Satyarthi told The Associated Press at his office in New Delhi. "If any child is a child slave in any part of the world, it is a blot on humanity. It is a disgrace."
Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said it was important to reward both an Indian Hindu and a Pakistani Muslim for joining "in a common struggle for education and against extremism." The two will split the Nobel award of $1.1 million.
By highlighting children's rights, the committee widened the scope of the peace prize, which in its early days was given for efforts to end or prevent armed conflicts.
Many around the world praised the Nobel committee for focusing on children.
"The true winners today are the world's children," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He praised Satyarthi's "heroic work" and Malala's "courage and determination."
Raised in Pakistan's politically volatile Swat Valley, Malala was barely 11 years old when she began to champion girls' education. She would speak out in TV interviews.
She was critically injured on Oct. 9, 2012, when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She survived through luck the bullet did not enter her brain and by the quick intervention of British doctors visiting Pakistan.
Flown to Britain for specialist treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, she underwent numerous surgeries and made a strong recovery. Malala now lives with her father, mother and two brothers in Birmingham and goes to the private Edgbaston High School for girls.
The Nobel committee said Satyarthi was carrying on the tradition of another great Indian, Mahatma Gandhi, who remains the most notable omission in the 113-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi's tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the committee said.
India's 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 labor."
A.N.S. Ahmed, a well-known sociologist in India, said the award should prod the Indian government to do more in a country where a large number of children must support their families by engaging in dangerous jobs.
"The award will have a deep impact not just on the Indian government, but also on the civil society, to work with passion and improve the condition of children by enforcing their rights," he said.
The founder of the Nobel Prizes, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, said the peace prize should go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
The committee has interpreted those instructions differently over time, widening the concept of peace work to include efforts to improve human rights, fight poverty and clean up the environment.
All awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.
Critical thinking challenge: Why did Thorbjoern Jagland believe it was important to reward both a Hindu from India and a Muslim from Pakistan? What do they have in common, what makes them different and which is more important?