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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Co-recipient of Nobel Peace Prize youngest to ever win

This October, two people with ages more than four decades apart received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for “[her] struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

This is in contrast with her co-winner Kailash Satyarthi, a 60-year-old man who has invested over 30 years fighting against child labor, successfully rescuing 78,500 child slaves in India. In addition, Satyarthi was the leader of the Global March Against Child Labor in 1988, which spurred the ratification of several policies discussed at the Geneva Convention, including the implementation of new policy to prevent child labor on a global scale and free education for children.

Satyarthi is a reformer, while Yousafzai is an advocate. Though Yousafzai is undoubtedly a budding activist and symbol of resistance against child oppression, she has yet to achieve something to the scale of Satyarthi’s accomplishments. Yes, she has advocated for global education, but she has yet to lead a movement or push legislation like Satyarthi has.

The age difference of 43 years also casts doubt on whether or not Yousafzai should have been awarded the prize. Usually, the age of Nobel Peace Prize laureates has fallen in the bracket between 60 and 64.

Perhaps what granted her the most fame regarding her activist career is her survival of an attempted assassination. In 2012 she was shot point-blank in the face by the a member of the Taliban while aboard a school bus. This thrust her into international renown. With this fame to bolster her cause, she eventually became the Nobel laureate that she currently is. The way she dealt with this obstacle was impressive, but does not make her deserving of one of the greatest honors attainable.

Yousafzai is undoubtedly important — she brings attention to the pressing concerns regarding education and women’s rights in the Middle East — but she has not yet gotten the  results that Satyarthi has.

For now, Yousafzai has yet to move beyond activism into the more concrete realms of successful reform, but the Nobel Prize has certainly put her in the position to one day become a world figure worthy of the award.

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