LONDON — A teenage Pakistani activist thrust into the global spotlight in a horrific act of violence and a graying Indian reformer who followed Gandhi’s creed of peaceful persistence were united Friday as shared winners of the world’s most prestigious award.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to give the 2014 Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi brings together individuals who took very different paths to the award but who hold much in common in their outspoken advocacy for the rights of children.
The selection also reaches across ethnic, religious and political lines to address tensions such as the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan and the more recent — but more far-reaching — rise of Islamist militancy and intolerance.
Yousafzai survived a Taliban slaying attempt in her native Swat Valleyon Oct. 9, 2012, when she was just 15. Two years and a day later, she became the youngest Nobel laureate after a stunning rise onto the world stage that has featured relentless advocacy for female education.
Fittingly, Yousafzai said Friday she found out she had won the Nobel Peace Prize while in school, learning about electrolysis in her chemistry class. After her teacher informed her of the award, she said she continued her school day as usual, addressing the world’s media only late in the afternoon.