Citing the “fraternity between nations” which Alfred Nobel mentioned as one of the criteria for the award, a Muslim Pakistani, Malala Yousafzay, and an Indian Hindu, Kailash Satyarthi, two champions of children’s rights, were named the winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

The youngest person to be honored with a Nobel Prize, Malala, 17, was a schoolgirl who began promoting education for all in Pakistan when she was 11. Two years ago she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman which gained her and her cause attention worldwide.

”Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”

Giving up a career as an electrical engineer in 1980, Satyarthi, 60, has led a global movement “in the Gandhi’s tradition” to reform “the grave exploitation of children” who are forced into labor. Showing great personal courage as a grassroots activist, he has freed tens of thousands of child slaves, reports the Associated Press.

In addition, he established Rugmark (now known as Goodweave) as the first voluntary labeling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without the use of child-labour in South Asia, raising consumer awareness for the accountability of global corporations.

In their announcement, The Nobel Committee explained their choice this way: “(We) regard it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

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