The Chairman of the Ministerial Council of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), HE Mr Yousef Hussain Kamal, today awarded Ms Malala Yousafzai with the 2013 OFID Annual Award for Development in appreciation of her fearless struggle to uphold the right of girls and women in the Swat Valley of Pakistan to receive an education. Presented at the 34th Annual Session of the Ministerial Council of OFID, the award was accepted by Mr Ziauddin Yousafazai on behalf of his daughter.
Ms Yousafzai, a 15-year old Pakistani national and activist for education and women’s rights, is the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history. In 2012, she was shot for speaking out in favor of young women’s right to education, but has since been recovering from her injuries. She has received numerous awards including Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize, the Simone de Beauvoir Prize and was featured on Foreign Policy Magazine’s list of top global thinkers.
Upon being informed about the award, Ms Yousafzai sent a video response to OFID in which she expressed her gratitude for being honored with such a “prestigious award.” She also stated her hope that all organizations could “work together to educate girls, to teach them, to empower them” and stressed that education for all is “true development.”
Accepting the award, Mr Yousafazai thanked the Chairman and said: “I, my daughter Malala, my family and my countryman are very honored to receive this prestigious award. I hope it will further strengthen – and promote – the cause of educating underprivileged people – especially education for girls, for which Malala had put her life at stake.
This award is presented in recognition of Ms Yousafzai’s achievements and commitments. Furthermore, this prize seeks to encourage those core values she has fought to uphold, which parallel OFID’s own: education, gender equality and human rights. OFID pledges to support Ms Yousafzai as she continues to pursue her ultimate goal: that access to education will become a reality for every child on the globe. OFID’s commitment to this cause is embedded in its vision, namely to aspire to a world where Sustainable Development, centered on human capacity-building, is a reality for all.
The OFID Annual Award, which comes with a US$100,000 prize, was instituted in 2006. Past winners of the award are HUMANA People-to-People, a Zimbabwe-based NGO; Austrian NGO SOS Children’s Villages; Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh; Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Peasant Indigenous Native Women of Bolivia; the Yéle Haiti Foundation; Dr. Mazen Al-Hajri, a pioneer in the field of ear, nose and throat medicine, known for his charitable work on children in Gaza; and the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and its Ex-Detainees Rehabilitation Program (EDRP).