Spotlight on: Malala Yousafzai

Denver Women's Chorus, Rocky Mountain Arts Association News

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In early 2009, when Malala was 11–12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu.

On 9 October 2012 after taking an exam, while on a bus in the Swat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, Yousafzai and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism; the gunman fled the scene. Yousafzai was hit in the head. The attempt on her life sparked an international outpouring of support for Malala. Weeks after the attempted murder, a group of fifty leading Muslim clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her. The Taliban was internationally denounced by governments, human rights organizations and feminist groups. Taliban officials responded to condemnation by further denouncing Yousafzai, indicating plans for a possible second assassination attempt which was justified as a “religious obligation.” Their statements resulted in further international condemnation.

Following her recovery, Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education. Based out of Birmingham she founded the non-profit organization the Malala Fund, and in 2013 co-authored I Am Malala, an international best seller. In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Aged 17 at the time, this made Malala the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary He Named Me Malala. The 2013, 2014 and 2015 issues of Time magazine featured her as one of the most influential people globally. In 2017, she was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship and became the youngest person to address the House of Commons of Canada. Yousafzai attended Edgbaston High School from 2013 to 2017 and is currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

The Denver Women’s Chorus will be performing a selection also entitled I Am Malala, celebrating the extraordinary perserverence of Malala Yousafzai in her pursuits to advocate for Women’s Rights and Education. Join us THIS WEEKEND for our upcoming concert Nevertheless We Persist: Singing our Stories for 35 Years at Central Presbyterian Church of Denver JANUARY 25th at 7:30pm and 26th at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets ON SALE NOW at

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