3 Things Millennials Can Take Away From Malala Yousafzai

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Malala Yousafzai made history this morning by being named the youngest recipient ever of a Nobel Prize. The second youngest Nobel laureate is Lawrence Bragg, who won an award for physics with his father in 1915 when he was just 25 years old.

So far, 47 Nobel prizes have gone to women, and Malala is the 16th woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize specifically. She joins the ranks of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan.

Malala’s incredible journey all began with a blog she published anonymously for BBC Urdu while living in Pakistan as a response to the Taliban closing all girl schools under their control in January 2009.

When her identity was revealed, an assassination attempt was made on her life. While on her way to school, a gunman entered the school bus, asked for Malala by name and fired three shots, hitting her in the head and placing her in critical condition.

By all accounts, Malala should have died that day. Perhaps, in a way, she did because when she recovered, she was no longer the unknown Pakistani girl who just wanted to go to school. She became Malala: the international sensation who stood up to the Taliban in support of women’s rights.

By attempting to kill their opposition, Malala’s opponents helped catapult her to fame and gain unprecedented support in her cause. Her story has touched millions, as nearly a quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school.

Malala was a favorite to win the Nobel Peace Prize last year following a speech she made before the United Nations in July, in which she stated:

The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.

The committee was initially concerned over Malala’s age and whether she would be able to handle the responsibility of being a worldwide peace ambassador. However, Malala’s performance this past year has quelled all doubts and been nothing short of amazing.

She currently lives in England with her family due to Taliban persecution and has been attending school while working tirelessly as a UN ambassador, most notably supporting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign for kidnapped girls in Nigeria.

It is truly uplifting to see someone with a righteous cause succeed against all odds. In a world where we’re constantly surrounded by pain, war and disease, people like Malala give us hope.

Here are three things we can all learn from Malala Yousafzai:

1. The pen is mightier than the sword

Malala is of the belief that a country’s strength is not measured by its army, but by the number of educated people in it. While brute strength is valuable, intelligence, skill and strategic thinking are the traits that win wars.

There is a reason totalitarian governments control the media; knowledge is power and a well-informed population is much harder to manipulate than one content with spoonfed lies.

Never take your education for granted. While you were busy cutting school, halfway across the world, others were being shot over simply wanting to attend.

2. Women’s rights are basic human rights

Unfortunately, there are many places in the world where women’s rights are not fully recognized. If Malala had conformed to the societal expectation within her community, she would be barefoot, cooking and silent. Thankfully, she was encouraged by her father at an early age to think critically and thirst for knowledge.

There are many other girls not as lucky, or who haven’t survived assassination attempts. It’s time to stop glossing over women’s rights—the deprivation of basic human rights to girls around the world is an issue that concerns everyone.

As fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

3. You’re never too young to speak up

It can be hard to bear the burden of a righteous cause, but “our lives begin to end the moment we stay silent about things that matter” (another great quote by MLK).

Sometimes we feel limited in what we can do because of our youth or inexperience, but we are so powerful. Our generation is able to produce change in ways prior generations never imagined, with social media allowing us to reach international audiences with the click of a button.

You’re never too young to make a difference, and you never know what kind of impact your actions could have on others.

Congratulations to Malala on this well-deserved honor!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/things-millennials-can-learn-from-malala-yousafzai/794121/

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