Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India Win Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two 'for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.'

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Kailash Satyarthi (L) and Malala Yousafzai (R)Credit: AFP

Children's rights activists Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

Yousafzai, now 17, is a schoolgirl and education campaigner in Pakistan who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago. She said Friday that she was honored to have been chosen as joint winner of the prize.

"I'm feeling honored that I'm being chosen as a Nobel Laureate," she said, speaking from Birmingham, England where she is now based. "I'm proud that I'm the first Pakistani and first the young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award." 

Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, "focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain," the Nobel committee said.

The Nobel Committee said it "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."

The founder of the Nobel Prizes, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, said the prize committee should give the prize to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

The committee has interpreted those instructions differently over time, widening the concept of peace work to include efforts to improve human rights, fight poverty and clean up the environment.

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