Oxford, UK (BBN) – At age 20, Malala Yousafzai is one of the most accomplished and most celebrated people in the world. Five years ago, she was shot by the Taliban in her native Pakistan for defying the ban against women going to school.
Since then, she has won the Nobel Peace Prize, traveled all over the world, authored two books, and started studying at Oxford University, reports UK-based newspaper The Independent.
Below, we rounded up some of the highlights of Yousafzai’s incredible life.
Malala Yousafzai is 20 years old. She is a Pakistani activist, an author, and the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yousafzai began studying at Oxford University in October 2017. She will study philosophy, politics, and economics.
Yousafzai grew up in the Swat Valley in Northwest Pakistan. The Taliban took control of the area in 2007. She defied the ban preventing women from attending school: “I just could not imagine a life limited to the four walls of my house and never be myself.”
In 2012, Malala was 14 when she was shot by a member of the Taliban. A bullet narrowly missed her brain.
In 2013, Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin, established the Malala Fund to give girls all over the world access to education.
That same year, Yousafzai published a memoir titled “I Am Malala,” co-written with Christina Lamb.
She appeared on The Daily Show and left Jon Stewart speechless when she explained what she would do should someone from the Taliban come after her again: “I will tell him how important education is and that I even want education for your children as well. And I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.'”
Yousafzai met with President Barack Obama and challenged him on the drone strikes in Pakistan: “Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”
In 2014, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She said the award was also “for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change.”
As of 2014, Yousafzai didn’t have a cell phone or use social media, so she could focus on her education. She does use Twitter, though. Recently, she crowdsourced tips on packing for college.
Yousafzai recently published a children’s book titled “Malala’s Magic Pencil.” “The magic is in their voice, in their words, in their writings,” she said of the kids who read her book. “They should dream beyond limits and believe that there is magic in them.”
In April, Yousafzai went on a “Girl Power Trip” to meet with women around the world and was designated a UN Messenger of Peace. After winning the award, Yousafzai told the audience that the most difficult period of her life was between 2007 and 2009 in the Swat valley: “We were at a point of making a decision about whether to speak out or remain silent. And I realized that if you remain silent, you are still going to be terrorized. So speaking out, you can help people.”