In social media feeds, blog posts, and water-cooler conversations across the globe, the Nobel Prize Committee’s recent decision not to award its coveted Peace Prize to 16-year old education activist Malala Yousafzai was met with surprise and disappointment. An op-ed published in US News and World Report today by Teach For All Co-Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp poses that such a reaction is proof that education has finally been elevated to a global high priority—and that Malala was the catalyst.
The determined teenager’s commitment to fighting for education for all children—including those of her attackers—the column argues, should inspire the rest of the world to “expand the boundaries of our empathy” and view education not as a local issue but as a universal one.
“One year ago, Malala woke up in a hospital after the Taliban shot her in the head for standing up for the right of all children to go to school. One week ago, she encouraged President Obama to ‘refocus’ his efforts fighting terrorism on education instead of unmanned drones. In between, she’s done what politicians, celebrities and education advocates like me have struggled to do for years: put education on the global agenda.”