By Katie Kelley
Jesuit High School, Jesuit Crusaders
Malala Yousafazai, a seventeen-year-old Pakistani woman, was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala won the Nobel Prize because of her struggle to provide all children with the right to education (nobelprize.org).
In case the name Malala doesn’t ring a bell right away, a brief description of her accomplishments might. Two years ago this October Malala was shot in the head and neck on her way to school in Swat, Pakistan, due to her blog posts for BBC about the Taliban and the threat they caused to women and children attending school in her area.
Gaining deserved credit from the public eye, Malala recovered from the accident in Birmingham, United Kingdom. One year after the incident, Malala’s self-written autobiography, was published “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”. That same year, Malala was awarded the Skaharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament.
“She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud,” said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in recognition of Malala’s winning of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. “Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.”
As the culture and identity of Jesuit High School has changed since its opening in 1956, the core belief in students connecting their lives to global influences (seeing oneself as part of a bigger whole) has remained the same. Jesuit continues to focus on becoming more internationally aware and because of this, Malala is an inspiration to students her age.
“She [Malala] has become a symbol more than anything else for women’s education,” said Mark Flamoe, the International Studies teacher at Jesuit High School. “This is appropriate for Jesuit because in 1994 we became a co-ed school and Jesuit has become a much better place and I would even say a more academically focused place since then. I think it’s relevant for Jesuit because Jesuit is a symbol of a school that embraces female education and is better for it. I think it is an example of what other societies could be like if they do allow and embrace women to be co-equals in their education.”
As well as being an exemplary symbol, Malala is also an inspiration for women all over the world. Gender equality is a growing concern in not only countries that provide minimal education opportunities to women, but also to countries striving to equal the balance between men and women in the workforce.
“Malala is an inspiration, to me, because she stands up for what everyone else is afraid to say,” says junior Olivia Asato. “It takes a lot to build up the courage to stick up for yourself, especially if you are standing alone, yet Malala is graceful and eloquent in her execution.”
Originally published on www.Jesuitcrusader.org