On October 9, 2012, the Taliban boarded a rustic school bus in the Swat Valley of Pakistan with the goal of murdering 15 year-old Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who has been a proponent for the education of Pakistani girls since 2008. Malala was shot in the head and neck and is currently recovering in Birmingham, England. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, raised his first born to be strong and engaged her at an early age in discussions about politics, books and social issues. Before Malala was born, Mr. Yousafzai opened a private girls school in the Swat Valley where he established himself as a peaceful advocate for the education of all children as a teacher, activist and school owner.
The New York Times followed her posts, and produced a documentary film chronicling the family's efforts to advance the cause. Malala began to rise in prominence, and took a position as chairperson of the District Child Assembly in Swat. She spoke for the right of girls' to be educated in many forums, and participated in various talk shows, seminars, and marches to motivate children to obtain an education.
Malala has since received a number of honors, from her nomination by Desmond Tutu for the International Children's Peace Prize to winning Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize. Former British Prime Minister and current U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a United Nations petition in Malala's name, using the slogan "I am Malala" and demanded that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015.
Ziauddin Yousafzai will travel to Oklahoma City to accept the award while Malala recovers from her recent surgeries in London.