Education as a Lever for International Peace: Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Today, the Nobel Prize committee made history in awarding 17-year-old girls’ education advocate Malala Yousafzai the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest ever to receive the prize, together with Kailash Satyarthi, a longtime activist working to end child labor and trafficking. But much more exciting than the committee choosing such a young recipient is the fact that the rights of girls and boys everywhere are being recognized as a global priority and a key to international peace. We want to congratulate both of them not just for this incredible recognition, but also for their groundbreaking work that is helping improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.

This year at the Center for Universal Education we have been writing about the need to tackle the next generation of girls’ education issues, particularly the hotspots where girls still struggle to get a safe, quality education. Pakistan landed at number seven on our list of the top ten most dangerous places to be a girl, and having local leadership like Malala Yousafzai stand up for those girls is an important step toward ensuring their rights. Also, the work of Kailash Satyarthi to defend the rights of children and promote their education, through his work as founder of both The Global March Against Child Labour and also the Global Campaign for Education has impacted the lives of marginalized children in India and all across the globe.

It is very inspiring to see these issues and the rights of children take center stage in the global peace agenda. Unfortunately, millions of children still struggle to get an education, despite all the benefits an education can provide—including promoting tolerance and peace. But thanks to the work of leaders like Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi we can expect to see greater opportunity for all children to reap these benefits.

Today, we are energized with much hope for a better future for girls and boys everywhere. As Kailash Satyarthi wrote in 2010, “Let us surge ahead with even more vigor and hope… in our journey from exploitation to education.” Now we hope that the surge from the education community will be even stronger with this recognition from the Nobel committee.