To win a Nobel Prize demonstrates the recipients great achievement in their field. A world class excellence that deserves global recognition. This year’s recipients; Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are, in my opinion, amongst the most worthy winners selected by the Nobel committee in recent years.
Both these individuals are activists who have tirelessly fought for the rights of young girls and boys across the world. Yousafzai, famously, is the Pakistani school girl who stood up to the Taliban authorities to demand greater access for the young women of Pakistan to education. Despite being only 15 at the time the Taliban shot her in the head to try and silence her. In her fight back from this attack Malala has become the voice of a generation who are demanding universal access to education for young people, freedom from political and religious repression and the safety against violence, most notably against young girls, that has unfortunately became a hallmark of certain regimes. Malala may be the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, but the spirit she embodies is one that refuses to stand on the sidelines whilst political injustices continues and for this reason she is truly an inspiration to a global community of people both young and old, who may reject the status quo of repression and inequality that blights many of our world nations.
Her fellow recipient is Kailash Satyarthi. Again here is an individual who is driven by a single aim; to ensure that the next generation leads a life that is economically better, safer and freer from political and economic exploitation. He established Save the Childhood Movement as a way to fight the exploitation of children for financial gain. Within his homeland of India the exploitation of children is a disgraceful reality, as it is in many countries where millions languish in poverty. Human trafficking, sweat-shop labour, forced begging and violence against children is all common, but Satyarthi has been critical in defending the rights of these children and ensuring that development and active policy change is a reality.
Through selecting these two individuals the Nobel Committee has achieved two things. Firstly it has established that the issue of youth development, education and the rights of children is one of the most important and critical issues that we need to address in the world today. Without fighting for an improvement of the lives of our future generations of politicians, business leaders and ordinary people, who will move the world forward, we risk getting isolated in our present circumstances, hemmed in by political and social constraints.
Secondly the Nobel Committee has made a clear statement with their selection. Here are two recipients from different, and often greatly opposed sides; one Muslim, one Hindu; one Pakistani, one Indian. Although they come from one of the most tense geo-political relationships in the current world, they share a commonality that transcends national interests. They are both individuals who see beyond their borders and national perspectives and see instead ways to confront global issues to create a better global environment.
Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, worthy winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, 2014.