Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, has become a symbol of non-violent resistance, resilience, courage and commitment. Malala has demonstrated to us the value of one voice to inspire the world to work for peace and justice.
Malala first gained international attention through a blog she wrote for the BBC in which she described her life under the Taliban regime and advocated for educational opportunities for Pakistani girls. Despite enormous pressure to back down and threats to her and her family’s lives, Malala continued to write and speak and advocate. Young Malala was targeted for assassination and was shot and critically wounded last October while walking home from school. Two of her classmates were also wounded. Malala is now recovering in a hospital in Great Britain and is making remarkable progress as people across the globe pray for her recovery.
At great personal risk, Malala has demonstrated to all of us the value and power of one voice. Extremists tried to silence her, but they have only amplified her voice so that it now echoes around the world.
Church Women United, an ecumenical movement representing Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women, works on behalf of women and children throughout the world. We are moved, humbled and inspired by Malala’s story. She has touched the hearts, stirred the souls and motivated action not just of the women of our movement, but of people of all religions, faiths and creeds around the world.
By nominating Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize, U.S. government leaders on behalf of the American people will not only honor a young woman whose life, actions, and spirit represent the very essence of the award’s purpose, we will send a strong message throughout the world about our nation’s commitment to equality, education, humanity, peace and justice.