Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani school girl who was shot last October by Taliban thugs, has won the Tipperary 2012 International Peace Award.
Recognizing her struggle for girls’ education in Pakistan’s troubled northwest region, the Tipperary Peace Convention said Yousafzai was chosen for her courage, determination and perseverance, along with the impact she has had on so many across the world.
Among this year’s five nominees for the award were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Indian Congress Leader Sonia Gandhi, according to a statement issued by Pakistan Foreign Office.
The statement read, “Malala Yousafzai is being awarded the “2012 Tipperary International Peace Award” Ireland for her courage and determination to speak out in support of equal access to education for every child.
Previous recipients of the award include the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Former US Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the New York City Fire Department, and former President Bill Clinton.
Yousafzai, a resident of Swat Valley, first garnered attention in 2009 while advocating girls’ rights to education and writing an online diary for which she received threats. The Pakistani Taliban, who banned girls’ education, perceived her campaign as secular and Western-minded and shot her in the head and neck on Oct. 9, 2012, while she was returning home from school.
She was flown to Britain, where she has been receiving treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Pakistan has fought two battles in Swat Valley against the Taliban, claiming the area is successfully cleansed of militants. Still, attacks on civilian and military have continued to destabilize a once-vital tourist attraction called the Switzerland of Pakistan.
"The Taliban tried and failed to silence her and have instead amplified her voice" said the Tipperary Peace Convention, adding that “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 voice of Malala Yousafzai.”
The award will be presented to Yousafzai in 2013, but an exact date has yet to be announced.