At age 17, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement was made Friday morning, nearly two years to the day since she was shot. In 2012, a masked gunman targeted Yousafzai on her school bus in Pakistan. Doctors removed a bullet from her head, and then she was flown the U.K. for more surgery. The teen now lives in Birmingham in the U.K.
Yousafzai had written an anonymous diary for BBC Urdu in 2009, detailing the conditions under Taliban rule in northwest Pakistan. The following year, she was the subject of a New York Times documentary.
In the years since, Yousafzai has been a tireless activist for education. The teen who took on the Taliban addressed the United Nations on her 16th birthday in 2013, around the same time she co-authored a book, titled I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban.
Yousafzai's story has gone global. In fact, Reese Witherspoon learned about it from her 15-year-old daughter, Ava Phillippe. "My daughter brought her book to me and said, 'Mom, you've got to hear this woman's story,'" the actress, 38, says in Variety's Oct. 7 issue. "It's so incredible, all she's overcome." In August, Witherspoon and Phillippe hosted a dinner for Yousafzai. "She's an incredible speaker, she has such humor, and she's doing incredible things in the world," she says. "And she's only just begun."
Yousafzai was also named one of Time's most influential people in 2013.
"Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education and has shown by example that children and young people too can contribute to improving their own situations," Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, explained. "This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls' rights to education." Nawaz Sharif also congratulated Yousafzai, calling her the "pride" of Pakistan. "Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment," the Prime Minister said in a statement.
Yousafzai is jointly honored with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner.
"It's a great honor for all the Indians. It's an honor for all those children who have been still living in slavery despite of all the advancement in technology, market and economy," the 60-year-old founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan tells the BBC. "And I dedicate this award to all those children in the world."
Yousafzai accepted the honor after school: