» Nobel Peace Prize: Director-General congratulates Malala and Kailash Satyarthi
10.10.2014 -

Nobel Peace Prize: Director-General congratulates Malala and Kailash Satyarthi

Oslo/Paris, 10 October:  Education activists Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay have won the Nobel Peace Prize "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”  Both laureates have been working closely with UNESCO to promote education, especially for girls and for child labourers.  The Director-General of the Organization, Irina Bokova, issued this statement on the awards:  

My heartfelt congratulations go out to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.  The award of the Peace Prize to these two ardent defenders of education and human rights sends a resounding message to the world about the importance of education for building peaceful and sustainable societies.  UNESCO works closely with both Nobel laureates.

Kailash Satyarthi is a close friend of UNESCO and has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labour since the 1980s. As founding president of the Global March Against Child Labour and one of the leaders of the Global Campaign for Education, he has worked with passion and courage to fulfill every child’s right to education.

After being shot and struggling for her life for speaking out about the right to attend school, Malala became known worldwide for her courage and commitment. She stands with us in the struggle for universal education, especially for girls.

 We are proud that these two champions have been honoured with the Prize. At a time when the world is confronting multiple challenges, from the Ebola crisis to “cultural cleansing” in Iraq and Syria, this award stands as a beacon of hope for the future. Their message – that education is vital for peace and development – will now ring out louder than ever.

On 10 December 2012, UNESCO and Pakistan created the Malala Fund for Girls Education, to which Pakistan made a contribution of $10 million during a high level event dedicated to Malala. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Malala, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, celebrated together the first anniversary of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) last September in New York. During the event, Malala pleaded for books and teachers to be sent to all countries hit by extremism as the only way to fight for both education and peace.

“We are proud that these two champions have been honoured with the Prize. This prize is a clear recognition of the fact that peace depends on quality education, and particularly on the education of girls. This basic right is under attack nowadays, schools are targeted and in many parts of the world students are prevented from going to school. We must fight with all we have to protect schools and make them safe havens of development and tolerance,” the Director-General declared.

“This prize is particularly significant for UNESCO. It is the Nobel Prize for education for peace. It is the Nobel of girls’ right to education. It is the Nobel Prize of all the women and men around the world who are dedicated to ensuring that the basic human right to quality education becomes a reality. Women nowadays represent two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population. Thirty-one millions young girls still do not have access to primary education and and an equal number of them are deprived of secondary education. Educating these girls is a world priority, a lever of social change and development, the condition for lasting peace. The Nobel Prize comes as an encouragement for us to redouble our efforts to ensure that no child is deprived of education,” Ms Bokova concluded.

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