Malala Yousafzai (Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ [mə ˈlaː lə . ju səf ˈzəj]; Urdu: ملالہ یوسف زئی Malālah Yūsafzay, born 12 july 1.997) is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.
In early 2.009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls.
The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On 9 October 2.012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus.
In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation.
On 12 october, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.
The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai.
Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2.013 that Yousafzai may have become "the most famous teenager in the world."
United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai's name, using the slogan "I am Malala" and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2.015 a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan's first Right to Education Bill.
In the 29 April 2.013 issue of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine's front cover and as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World".
She was the winner of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (although Yousafzai was widely tipped to win the prize, it was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).
On 12 july 2.013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in september 2.013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham.
Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2.013.
On 16 October 2.013 the Government of Canada announced its intention that the Parliament of Canada confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai.
Yousafzai was born on 12 july 1.997 into a Sunni Muslim family of Pashtun ethnicity.
She was given her first name Malala (meaning "grief stricken") after Malalai of Maiwand, a famous Pashtun poet and warrior woman from southern Afghanistan.
Her last name, Yousafzai, is that of a large Pashtun tribal confederation that is predominant in Pakistan's Swat Valley, where she grew up.
At her house in Mingora, she lived with her two younger brothers, her parents, and two pet chickens.
Yousafzai was educated in large part by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is a poet, school owner, and an educational activist himself, running a chain of schools known as the Khushal Public School.
She once stated to an interviewer that she would like to become a doctor, though later her father encouraged her to become a politician instead.
Ziauddin referred to his daughter as something entirely special, permitting her to stay up at night and talk about politics after her two brothers had been sent to bed.
Yousafzai started speaking about education rights as early as september 2.008, when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club.
"How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?"
Yousafzai asked her audience in a speech covered by newspapers and television channels throughout the region.
On 25 february, Yousafzai wrote on her blog that she and her classmates "played a lot in class and enjoyed ourselves like we used to before".
Attendance at Yousafzai's class was up to 19 of 27 pupils by 1 march, but the Taliban were still active in the area.
Shelling continued, and relief goods meant for displaced people were looted.
Only two days later, Yousafzai wrote that there was a skirmish between the military and Taliban, and the sounds of mortar shells could be heard : "people are again scared that the peace may not last for long.
Some people are saying that the peace agreement is not permanent, it is just a break in fighting".
On 9 march, Yousafzai wrote about a science paper that she performed well on, and added that the Taliban were no longer searching vehicles as they once did. Her blog ended on 12 march 2.009.
Early political career and activism
Following the documentary, Yousafzai was interviewed on the national Pashto-language station AVT Khyber, the Urdu-language Aaj Daily, and Canada's Toronto Star.
She made a second appearance on Capital Talk on 19 august 2.009.
Her BBC blogging identity was being revealed in articles by december 2.009.
She also began appearing on television to publicly advocate for female education.
In october 2.011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African activist, nominated Yousafzai for the International Children's Peace Prize of the Dutch international children's advocacy group KidsRights Foundation.
She was the first Pakistani girl to be nominated for the award.
The announcement said, "Malala dared to stand up for herself and other girls and used national and international media to let the world know girls should also have the right to go to school".
The award was won by Michaela Mycroft of South Africa.
Her public profile rose even further when she was awarded Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize two months later in December.
On 19 december 2.011, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani awarded her the National Peace Award for Youth.
At the proceedings in her honor, Yousafzai stated that she was not a member of any political party, but hoped to found a national party of her own to promote education.
The prime minister directed the authorities to set up an IT campus in the Swat Degree College for Women at Yousafzai's request, and a secondary school was renamed in her honor.
By 2.012, Yousafzai was planning to organize the Malala Education Foundation, which would help poor girls go to school.