For Keep the Faith Friday, I offer something to think about in hope for the future. We all know that Malala Yousafzay is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize this year. What I think has gotten lost in the discussion is about both recipients of the prize. Kailash Satyarthi shares the prize with Malala because of, as quoted by the New York Times, “being champions of children”–Satyarthi for rescuing children from trafficking and slavery; Malala for education for children, especially girls. But the most impressive thing about this win is that Satyarthi is Indian and Malala is Pakistani. Knowing the historical context of these two adverserial countries, this is huge and something not lost on the Nobel Committee. Their press release of the Peace Prize stated: “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.” For me, this is hope.
This is the full press release from the Nobel Committee on on giving the Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthia and Malala Yousafzay:
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Children must go to school and not be financially exploited. In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.
Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.
The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.
The struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will as one of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.”