From the media coverage immediately following the announcement of the winners of the incredibly prestigious Noble Peace Prize you could quite easily believe that Malala Yousafzai had won the prize. In fact the prize was awarded to both Malala and Kailash Satyarthi for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” They were awarded it together because they are engaged in a joint struggle for education against extremism and as one is an Indian Hindu and the other a Pakistani Muslim they fulfill the “fraternity between nations” criterion for the prize. It is likely the Nobel Prize Committee is trying to encourage or pressurize the two countries into reconciliation.
Malala Yousafzai is a 17-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban just over 2 years ago for activism over girl’s education in her native Pakistan. She has set up the Malala Fund since living in England following her surgery. She quickly became a worldwide household name, quite a mean feat at such a young age. She was nominated for the award last year but just lost out to OPCW. Her win makes her the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Kailash Satyarthi is nowhere near as world renowned as Malala. He is 60 years old and his organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BAA) works to free enslaved children from human trafficking and is involved in righting child poverty. He has dedicated his life to trying to improve the lives of the vulnerable.
There were 278 nominations for this award, which is the highest ever recorded. Some of the unsuccessful nominees were Edward Snowden, Pope Francis, José Mujica (Uruguay’s President) and Chelsea Manning (former soldier who disclosed secret documents to Wikileaks).
I am a huge admirer of Malala Yousafzai because she is incredibly brave and definitely one in a million in terms of her determination and will to change what she sees as wrong with the world. Furthermore, what I have learnt about Kailash Satyarthi from my research for this article has really impressed me; there is something astounding about someone who is so dedicated that they are willing to commit their lives to a cause. Something I am certain that Malala will do as well. Although some of the nominees are also deserving, particularly Pope Francis and the Uruguayan President who has embraced re-distribution of wealth above and beyond the normal level, it’s pleasing that Malala and Kailash have won, particularly if it helps with an easing of tensions or reconciliation between their countries.
The winners of the other 2014 Nobel prizes are as follows:
The Nobel Prize in Physics – Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Eric Betzig, Stefan W Hell and William E Moerner for “the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for “their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”
The Nobel Prize in Literature – Patrick Modiano for “the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – Jean Tirole for “his analysis of market power and regulation”