Malala Wins Nobel Peace Prize, Students Respond
By Kristen Shipley
Aggie Press Assistant Editor
Malala Yousafzai gives her acceptance speech for winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
One person can change the world, one person can speak out against injustice, and one person can represent a noble cause.
Malala Yousafzai serves as living proof that one person can start a global movement.
Many people tend to ask, “What can one person do?” but look at what one person has done.
17-year-old Yousafzai recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts of helping to ensure that all students, especially girls, receive an education. She is also the youngest person to win this prestigious award.
As a young girl living in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, Yousafzai knew the importance of education, as her father was headmaster of the school that she attended. However, when the Taliban took over Pakistan, violence infiltrated both the land and schools.
The Taliban shut down and bombed schools; it even threatened those who still attended school. Many children were afraid to go to school or had lost their schools, and that was when Yousafzai spoke out.
“I wanted to speak up for my rights,” said Yousafzai in an interview with BBC News. “And also I didn’t want my future to be just sitting in a room and be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth to children. I didn’t want to see my life in that way.”
Yousafzai began by writing for an Internet blog about the struggles of being a girl living in the Swat Valley under the Taliban. She also accompanied her father at speaking engagements to promote education and was asked to participate in interviews.
Then, tragedy struck.
Shot in the head by a Taliban on her way home from school, Malala nearly faced death. The world waited in anticipation of Yousafzai’s recovery and began to spread her message. As a result, Yousafzai was known worldwide for her advocacy for education.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world,” said Yousafzai in her speech to the United Nations on July 12, 2013.
In Greensboro, N.C., the freshman class at N.C. A&T State University read Yousafzai’s autobiography, “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” as a part of the campus-wide Text-in-Community Program.
Three freshman A&T students voiced their opinions on how Yousafzai’s actions have impacted society.
“After reading “I Am Malala,” I believe she showed that no matter your age, race, or sex, you should always pursue anything that will better your life,” said Aaron Scott, a graphic design student. “Now that she’s won the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s just a validation of all the hard work she put in.”
“Malala speaks volumes for injustices all around the world. She will forever have a lasting impact on the youth, especially because she is a prime example that one voice, even from one so young, can make a difference,” said Rayonna Gordon, a biomedical engineering student. “By winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala continues to break barriers and pave a way for others to come after her.”
Mechanical engineering student Christian Johnson said, “Malala shows that even opposition stands against someone, there is always a way to succeed. By winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala shows that strength, determination, and drive can make anyone a trailblazer.”