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Malala Yousafzai
Most Creative People

Malala Yousafzai

Nobel Peace Prize winner, activist, The Malala Fund | Birmingham, UK

Most Creative People

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female-education activist. She is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, which she earned in 2014 at age 17 for her work in securing the right of all children to education. Yousafzai, who grew up in the Taliban-controlled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, first gained notoriety as a young girl in 2009 when she began writing a blog for the BBC under a pseudonym, chronicling life under Taliban occupation as the group tried to prevent young girls from attending school. In 2010, the journalist Adam Ellick created a documentary about her life for the New York Times. Yousafzai began giving interviews to media and was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu. While riding the bus home from school in October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head to end her campaigns for the right to attend school. Her recovery included several days in a coma and critical condition and a stint at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England (where she now attends school). It also inspired international support for Yousafzai's cause—the UN launched a petition in her name that demanded all children attend school by the end of 2015, and it helped Pakistan ratify its first-ever Right to Education Bill. Now, Yousafzai—known colloquially as Malala—has become the de facto voice for the 60 million girls deprived of education worldwide, and she regularly travels to speak on the issue. Her nonprofit, the Malala Fund—which she founded in 2013 with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, also a Pakistani educator—works to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education all over the world. In 2015, the fund opened a school in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon for Syrian refugee girls. In 2015, director David Guggenheim released He Named Me Malala—a documentary about her life and work for girls' education.

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