Belfast Telegraph

Shot schoolgirl given peace award

A 15-year-old schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban will be honoured for her courage and determination.

Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai has been announced as the recipient of the 2012 Tipperary International Peace Award.

The education activist was attacked by Taliban gunmen last October after she campaigned for girls to go to school without fear in part of the country where the Taliban had once imposed strict Sharia law.

The Tipperary Peace Convention said it was recognising Malala's courage, determination and perseverance, along with the impact she has had on so many people across the world.

Marking World Day of Peace, Peace Convention secretary Martin Quinn said: "Malala's courage has proved to be an inspiration around the globe. The right to education is denied to 61 million children of primary school age around the world and the hopes of these children are represented by the courage, determination and by the voice of Malala Yousafzai.

"The Taliban tried and failed to silence her and have instead amplified her voice. Though only a child herself, she has now become perhaps the world's most admired children's rights advocate.

"Her campaign to secure access to education for girls in certain regions in Pakistan has also served to highlight broader concerns such as the health and safety of the developing world's children, women's rights and the fight against extremism."

Malala, from the town of Mingora in the Swat district of Pakistan, was hit just above her left eye by a bullet which grazed the edge of her brain. She was eventually airlifted to Britain and treated at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, visited her last month.

Others shortlisted for the award included US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, president of the Indian National Congress Sonia Ghandi, former Kenyan journalist John Githongo and Pax Christi International, a non-profit Catholic peace movement.

Previous recipients include former South African president Nelson Mandela, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-US president Bill Clinton. Last year's recipients were former president of Ireland Professor Mary McAleese and her husband Senator Martin McAleese.


From Belfast Telegraph