Malala Yousafzai, the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban, has received an Irish honour for her courage and determination.
The Pakistani student, nursed back to health at Edgbaston’s QE Hospital, touched down in Ireland yesterday where she received the Tipperary International Peace Award.
The 16-year-old was attacked by Taliban gunmen last October after she campaigned for girls to go to school in a part of the country where fundamentalists had once imposed strict Sharia law.
The Tipperary Peace Convention recognised Malala’s courage, determination and perseverance, along with the impact she has had on so many across the world.
Speaking before the ceremony, Peace Convention secretary Martin Quinn said he was delighted the teenager had agreed to accept the award in person in Co Tipperary.
“We are really looking forward to receiving her and presenting her with this well-deserved accolade.
“Malala now joins the illustrious list of past recipients of the peace prize, which includes former prime minister of Pakistan, the late Benazir Bhutto.”
Since the age of 11, Malala had been secretly writing a blog for the BBC which described the struggles faced by girls trying to receive an education under the Taliban.
When her identity was uncovered, a Taliban militia boarded her school bus and shot her at point blank range.
Malala, from the town of Mingora in the Swat district, was hit just above her left eye by a bullet which grazed the edge of her brain.
She was eventually airlifted to Britain and treated at the QE, where she had a titanium plate and cochlear implant fitted. She was visited by the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, in hospital.
The teenager has remained in Birmingham where she returned to school in March and continues to campaign for every child’s right to education, including joining a campaign led by Plan Ireland.
Mike Mansfield, of Plan Ireland, said Malala’s story has struck a chord across the world.
“This young campaigner has become an inspiration to millions,” he said.
“This is an extraordinary, brave young women who, when faced with death, refused to give up and refused to be silent.”
Malala, who has been called the world’s most influential teenager, is a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.