The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to Pakistani Malala Yousafzai and Indian Kailash Satyarthi for "their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."
"Children must go to school and not be financially exploited," The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated in a press release. "In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected."
Yousafzai, 17, was shot in the head by Taliban militants in 2012 for having the temerity to seek an education. The Islamist militant group also took issue with her for publishing a blog in 2009 that promoted the right to education.
"I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are doing is wrong, that education is our basic right," Yousafzai said on her website.
After receiving treatment for her injuries in a British hospital, Yousafzai dedicated herself to the cause of education for all. She said being shot had only strengthened her resolve.
"They can only shoot a body, they cannot shoot my dreams," Yousafzai said. "They shot me because they wanted to tell me that, 'we want to kill you and to stop you campaigning', but they did the biggest mistake: they injured me, and they told me through that attack, that even death is supporting me, even death does not want to kill me."
Yousafzai penned the bestselling book, "I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban," and launched The Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on helping girls go to school and promoting their right of education. For her efforts, she has received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Union's annual human rights award. Previous winners include Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela.
To date, only 15 women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate ever.
Satyarthi, 60, is a children's rights activist who has dedicated his life to helping the millions of youths in India and around the world that have been forced into slavery.
A former electrical engineer, Satyarthi has participated in countless peaceful demonstrations and protests against the exploitation of children. He has mounted raids on factories where children were forced to work, and helped free and rehabilitate thousands. Satyarthi also established Rugmark (now known as Goodweave), a group that aims to "stop child labor in the carpet industry and to replicate its market-based approach in other sectors," and currently heads the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2,000 social-minded organizations and trade unions in 140 countries.
Satyarthi's contributions have received many honors, including the Aachener International Peace Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the Wallenberg Medal and the Defenders of Democracy Award.
"This is an honor for all my fellow Indians, as well as an honor for all those children in the world whose voices were never heard before properly," Satyarthi told India's NDTV network.
"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 Committee stated in a press release. "Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child laborers around the world today. In 2000, the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labor."
The two will split the Nobel award of $1.1 million.
The committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize annually to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." It is one of five Nobel Prizes established by Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, in his will in 1895.
Between 1901 and 2013, 94 Nobel Peace Prizes were awarded to 126 laureates.
Click here for a complete list of past laureates in this category.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article spelled Malala's last name as Yousafzay. This is the spelling used by The Norwegian Nobel Committee.
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