Nobel laureate Yousufzai gets US Liberty Medal as well
22 October 2014
Pakistan's Malala Yousufzai, the youngest ever Nobel laureate, was yesterday further honoured with the US Liberty Medal.
The 17-year-old Yousufzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote girls' education.
Accepting the Liberty Medal, which is given annually at the National Constitution Center (NCC) to someone who strives to secure freedom for people around the world, she pledged her $100,000 award to education in Pakistan. She said education is the best weapon against poverty, ignorance and terrorism.
She received the medal for her "courage and resilience in the face of adversity and for serving as a powerful voice for those who have been denied their basic human rights and liberties", said the NCC.
Malala, who currently lives in Britain, rose to prominence in Pakistan by campaigning for girls' right to education.
In October 2012, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.
Organisers of the Liberty Medal said they didn't know that she would win the Nobel when they decided months ago to honour her. But the coincidence was not unusual: Yousafzai has become the seventh Liberty Medal recipient to also receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Malala's courageous fight for equality and liberty from tyranny is evidence that a passionate, committed leader, regardless of age, has the power to ignite a movement for reform," said Jeb Bush, chairman of the National Constitution Center.
Yousafzai began her activism six years ago by using an alias to write for the BBC about living under Taliban rule in her notoriously extremist Swat region. In 2012, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head while she was returning from school because of her vocal support for gender equality and education for girls.
She ended up being treated for her injury in Britain, where she recovered and continues to live with her family. She has continued her activism on those issues through speaking engagements, a best-selling book and a non-profit organization called the Malala Fund.
Her appearance in Philadelphia on Tuesday came less than two weeks after she became the youngest Nobel laureate, sharing the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, a children's rights activist from India (See: Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzay share Peace Nobel).
"I accept this award on behalf of all the children around the world who are struggling to get an education," Yousafzai said in a statement when the award was announced in June.
The National Constitution Center is dedicated to increasing public understanding of the Constitution and the ideas and values it represents.
Previous recipients of the Liberty Medal who went on to win the Peace Prize include former South African President Nelson Mandela, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former US President Jimmy Carter.