Two years and one day after being shot in the head by ruthless Taliban fighters on a school bus in Pakistan at the tender age of 15, Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. At age 17, she’s the youngest recipient of the award in history.
Appropriately enough, the girls’ rights and education crusader was in chemistry class when she heard the news.
And in an epic move that’s a win for children everywhere, and, ideally, for some assuagement of South Asian tension, the Norwegian Nobel Committee also awarded the 95th peace prize to Kailash Satyarthi. Sixty-year-old Satyarthi, has, according to the committee, spent a lifetime "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," noting that he was "maintaining Gandhi's tradition." Indeed, the crusader against child slavery is credited with saving tens of thousands from abuse.
He told reporters that the award was about many more people than him and that credit should go to those "sacrificing their time and their lives for the cause of child rights" and fighting child slavery. He added:
"It is a great honor for all those children who are deprived of their childhood globally. It's an honor to all my fellow Indians who have got this honor—it's not just an honor for me, it's an honor for all those fighting against child labor globally."
The committee awarded the prize (which comes with a $1.2 million award) to the two activists:
"For their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."
And added that it:
"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 chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, echoed these sentiments:
“What we are saying is that we have awarded two people with the same cause, coming from India and Pakistan, a Muslim and a Hindu. It is in itself a strong signal.”
Though the relationship between the two countries has long been tumultuous, recent escalations have only intensified the situation.
Upon receiving the award (after, of course, chemistry class had wrapped up), Malala said she was “honored” to be sharing the award with Satyarthi, adding:
"We should all consider each other as human beings and we should respect each other. It is my message to children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights."
Malala and Satyarthi beat out 276 other applicants for the award, which, according to officials, was more challenging to decide this year than usual. From our perspective? Malala has more than earned it. You can learn more about this incredible girls rights activist—from her blog for the BBC, to her New York Times documentary, to her speech at the UN that earned a standing ovation—here.
Or you can watch her literally take Jon Stewart's breath away in an episode of The Daily Show filmed last year.
And just try to keep in mind, she was only 16 at the time.