Just one year ago, Oct. 9, 2012, two armed Taliban men stopped a bus that 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was riding home from school in Swat, Pakistan, and shot her multiple times in the head and neck.
The event created global shockwaves, bringing incredible attention to the plight of female education and the social pressures against “liberalization” in Pakistan.
Here's what you need to know about this incredibly impressive young woman:
1) She was the youngest nominee (16) for a Nobel Prize ever, and was widely regarded as the favorite for the award. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ended up winning in part for their upcoming efforts in Syria.
2) People in her home town thought she was getting good grades because her father ran the school.
"Some parents complained that I was being favored because my father owned the school, but people were always surprised that despite our rivalry we were all good friends and not jealous of each other … We also competed in what we call board exams. These would select the best students from private schools in the district, and one year Malka-e-Noor and I got exactly the same marks. We did another paper at school to see who would get the prize and again we got equal marks. So people wouldn't think I was getting special treatment, my father arranged for us to do papers at another school, that of his friend Ahmad Shah. Again we got the same, so we both got the prize."
3) She published her memoir this past week on the anniversary of her shooting, titled “I am Malala.” The Pakistani Taliban issued another threat against her life on Monday, and then threatened to terrorize any bookstore that sells the text.
4) Her response to the threats: "I'm never going to give up. They only shot a body but they cannot shoot my dreams."
5) Malala has received multiple awards, including the $65,000 Sakharov Award, the most prestigious Human Rights award in Europe.
6) The day of the assassination attempt, Madonna dedicated the song “Human Nature” to Malala at a concert in LA. Angelina Jolie donated $200,000 to Malalafund.org, and wrote an article explaining the event to her children and answering questions, like "Why did those men think they needed to kill Malala?"
7) After formerly aspiring to be a doctor, now her goals have shifted.
"I want to become a Prime Minister of Pakistan, and I think it's really good. Because through politics I can serve my whole county. I can be the doctor of the whole country. I can spend much of the money from the budget on education."
8) Her father is extremely proud of her for following in his activist footsteps, and has encouraged her ever since she started blogging for the BBC at age 11: "I will never put my head into the yoke of slavery," he said.
9) While on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," she addressed how she would react if she were to be confronted by another Taliban hitman.
"If you hit a Talib there would be no difference between you and the Talib you must not treat others with cruelty and harshness, you must fight others through peace and dialogue and education. I would tell him how important education is and that I would even want education for your children as well. That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want."
If you are as in awe of this young woman and Jon Stewart and I are, check out Malalafund.org to learn more and contribute.
Sources: Wikipedia, CNN, Salon