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Malala, teen champion of girls' rights, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

NHS via EPA

Malala Yousufzai of Pakistan leaving Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Britain, on Jan. 4 after she was discharged. She will have to undergo specialist cranial surgery at a later date.

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl who rose to international fame after the Taliban nearly killed her for her efforts to promote girls’ education, has been formally nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

Her name was put forward by three members of the Norwegian parliament from the ruling Labor Party on their website Friday, which was the deadline for nominations.

Malala’s name was put forward because of "her courageous commitment to the right of girls to education. A commitment that seemed so threatening to the extremists that they chose to try and kill her," said parliamentarian Freddy de Ruiter on the Labor party web site.

De Ruiter made the nomination with fellow members of parliament Gorm Kjernli and Magne Rommetveit.


Malala was attacked in October with two other girls while traveling home from school in Pakistan’s Swat valley.  The gunman boarded the van and asked for her by name before firing three shots at her — singling her out for writing a blog that criticized the Taliban for barring girls for getting an education.

A week later, Malala was flown to a hospital in the UK for treatment. She is now facing a final major surgery to place a titanium plate over the hole left in her skull. While in the hospital she has received thousands of messages from well-wishers around the world, and continued to speak out on behalf of her cause, becoming a global icon.


The Norwegian MPs said they believed that Malala was "a worthy winner for many reasons. She has become an important symbol in the fight against destructive forces that want to prevent democracy, equality and human rights."

She was also reportedly nominated by members of parliament in France, Spain and Canada. NBC News has not confirmed that information.

To be sure, it is very early in the Nobel process, which culminates with a winner in October.

The Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation, which has been awarding Nobel awards for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace since 1901, said 231 names were submitted for the Peace Prize last year, including 41 organizations.

Nominations can be made only by a select group of people worldwide, including national lawmakers, university presidents and previous Nobel winners.

Malala Yousafzai, 15, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for refusing to bow to pressure by extremists who don't want girls in Pakistan to receive an education. The winner will be announced in October. NBC's Lester Holt has more.

The foundation does not disclose the names of nominees until 50 years later. However, those who name the candidates sometimes disclose them, as in Malala’s case.

Among other reported nominees for the 2013 prize are Belarusian human rights activist Ales Belyatski, who is in jail, and Russian Lyudmila Alexeyeva.

The list of prior Nobel Peace Prize recipients is populated with presidents and large organizations — including UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, and the European Union in 2012 — and storied individuals, such as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela.

If Malala were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she would be the youngest by far and one of just 15 female recipients.

The average age of the 100 individuals is 62, according to the Nobel foundation. The youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate so far is Yemeni journalist Tawakkol Karman, who was 32 when he was awarded the honor in 2011.

Related:

Video: Next hurdle for Malala after Taliban attack: Skull surgery

Video: Outpouring of support for Pakistani teen attacked by Taliban

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