Malala collects EU’s Sakharov Prize
The world’s most famous teenage activist has been recognised once more for her efforts to obtain education for all, after a near-death just over 12 months ago.
16-year-old Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Sakharov prize for Freedom of Thought, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday 20th November, and was presented the award by European Parliament President, Martin Schulz.
The Sakharov Prize for free speech is awarded by the European Parliament annually in memory of Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. As well as the prize, the winner of the award receives 50,000 euros, making it Europe's top human rights award.
The teenager made headlines last October when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan and has been an avid crusader for educational rights across the globe since.
Speaking in front of the EU representatives, Malala ushered the message of education for all, and reiterated her passion to continue fighting for the cause.
Beginning her speech with a famous quote often attributed to the 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire, the courageous teen said: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
This was followed by a short speech to attending delegates. “I am hopeful the European Parliament will look beyond Europe to the suffering countries where people are still deprived of their basic rights, their freedom of thought is suppressed, freedom of speech is enchained,” Ms Yousafzai said.
“Many children have no food to eat, no water to drink and children are starving for education. It is alarming that 57 million children are deprived of education... this must shake our conscience.”
Past winners of the award include Nelson Mandela and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.