NEW YORK – A 16-year-old Pakistani girl and likely contender for the Nobel Peace Prize was in New York on Thursday, the eve of this year’s prize announcement, to promote her memoir of her campaign for girls’ education and surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai was in Manhattan for a media interview at a community center, just hours after the announcement she won the $65,000 Sakharov Award, Europe’s top human rights award.
The accolade and buzz for the teenager came almost exactly a year after she was shot in the head for her outspoken support for girls’ education.
The assassination attempt drew worldwide attention to the struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan. Malala addressed the United Nations on her 16th birthday, and she expects to meet with Queen Elizabeth II later this month.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee will say only that a record 259 candidates, including 50 organizations, have been nominated this year. Speculation on front-runners for today’s announcement is primarily based on previous choices and current events.
Besides Malala, others getting attention are Congolese surgeon Dr. Denis Mukwege, an advocate for women’s rights; Svetlana Gannushkina and the Memorial human rights group she heads in Russia; Egyptian computer scientist Maggie Gobran, who chucked her academic career to become a Coptic Christian nun and run a charity; and Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the American soldier convicted of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks in one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history.