Education champion Malala at school when told of Nobel win

10th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

When told she had won the Nobel peace prize on Friday, education rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai was appropriately enough at school in central England, where she lives after recovering from a Taliban bullet.

The inspirational 17-year-old was to hold a press conference later in the multi-cultural city of Birmingham, which she and her family have called home since she was airlifted out of Pakistan with life-threatening injuries back in 2012.

The youngest-ever winner of the Nobel prize last year started a private high school in an upmarket part of the city where she made a remarkable recovery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"Malala is at school as normal today," a spokeswoman from Edelman, the public relations company that represents Malala and has helped spread her message around the world, told AFP.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, the United Nations special envoy for global education, who has also played a key role in promoting her role, voiced delight at the Nobel victory also for Indian campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

"They are two of my best friends and two of the greatest global campaigners who deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for their courage, determination and for their vision that no child should ever be left behind," Brown said in a statement.

He praised Malala for "standing up for girls' rights to education from Pakistan to the rest of the world".

After visiting her in hospital, Brown took up Malala's cause with a petition for universal primary education handed to the Pakistani government on a day he named Malala Day.

Brown later arranged for Malala to speak at the United Nations in July 2013 and helped Malala and her family behind the scenes in coming to terms with their new reality.

Brown asked consulting firm McKinsey for help in setting up the Malala Fund, the organisation that runs Malala's education campaign and has won donors including Angelina Jolie.

The Malala machine really grew in November 2012 when the PR agency Edelman, whose clients include Starbucks and Microsoft, started working for her family and politicians, journalists and book publishers have made her a global figure.

Edelman has said it carries out the work on a pro bono basis.

The global spotlight has provoked a backlash in parts of Pakistani society, with some accusing Malala of acting as a puppet of the West while the Taliban have renewed the threat to her life.

There have also been concerns about exposing a child to such a level of public exposure, although Malala herself has insisted that the circus around her has not affected her personality.

"My world has changed but I have not," she says in her autobiography "I Am Malala".

© 2014 AFP

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