This morning, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Though Yousafzai’s name may not be familiar, you probably remember her face—the face of a pale teen, eyes rimmed with dark circles, her head shrouded in bandages, clutching a white teddy bear.
Two years ago Yousafzai garnered the world’s attention when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from surgery, she has taken her campaign global, most notable with a speech last year at the United Nations.
We haven’t heard a statement from Yousafzai about the peace prize. Apparently, she was in chemistry class when she was notified. She’s scheduled to release one later this day. After school lets out.
That may be my favorite part of the article I read about Yousafzai this morning. Because while, yes, she is a hero, she is also still a child. Who probably has a history quiz today. The day she is making history.
But I can’t say I’m shocked. Of course the Nobel Peace Prize is going to a child. My only surprise is that it took this long! Who better than a child to promote peace? They have the biggest stakes in the future.
Every time I travel with Compassion, I meet children who will never win the Nobel Peace Prize…but they are fighting hard for the future, to bring love and peace to their homes and communities.
On a recent trip to El Salvador, I met a teenage girl whose tutor introduced her to me as “the future president of El Salvador.” And she believed it.
When we give children a place to learn and grow in safety, their energy can go into changing the world, not merely surviving it.
I’m thrilled the world has finally seen what we’ve seen. That children like Yousafzai are not just the agents of future change.
They are changing the world today.
As soon as class is over.