Country of educated people is real superpower, says Malala

Teenage activist receives European Union’s Sakharov Prize, dedicates it to Pakistan’s unsung heroes.

Web Desk/ferya Ilyas November 20, 2013
Malala Yousufzai in her acceptance speech said that rather than iPhones, an Xbox or chocolates, children just want a book and a pen. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: “A country with talented, skilful and educated people is the real superpower and not the one with tonnes of soldiers,” said education campaigner Malala Yousafzai at a ceremony where she was given the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought on Wednesday.

She is the first Pakistani to be awarded this honour.

Malala was shot by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gunmen last year for promoting girls’ education. She now lives in the UK after she was flown there for medical treatment.

Dedicating the award to Pakistan’s unsung heroes, she urged that the “fittest among us should struggle for the survival of the weak.”

“If we leave the disadvantaged one behind, even the fittest can’t survive,” she added.

The Sakharov prize

The Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought has been awarded by the European Parliament each year since 1988 to commemorate Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. Malala was chosen on October 10 by a vote among the heads of all the political groups in the 750-member parliament.

Past winners include South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Three jailed Belarussian dissidents, along with Edward Snowden, were shortlisted for this year’s Sakharov prize.

Last year’s award went to detained Iranians, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film-maker Jafar Panahi, to honour those “standing up for a better Iran.”


Tera | 9 years ago | Reply

I think that she is overplaying her role. We all agree and sympathize with the pain and suffering she underwent but I think its time to stop and continue pursuing her own goals.

She should stop lecturing the world. Pakistan should be her stage and audience. The western world doesn't need her views. They already have their societies for the betterment of their populace.

Crazy Canuck | 9 years ago | Reply

Shhhhhhhhhh......don't tell that to our leaders. Why would they ever want educated, well informed voters? They'll ban it once and for all.

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