The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014
On Wednesday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai. Their Majesties The King and Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were in attendance in Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Laureates received a warm standing ovation.
Thorbjørn Jagland, Chair of the Nobel Committee, opened the ceremony from the speaker’s rostrum. He recapitulated the committee’s decision to award the prize to Mr Satyarthi and Ms Yousafzai for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Children must go to school and not be financially exploited.
The Nobel Committee wrote:
Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
“The single aim of my life is that every child is free to be a child,” said Mr Satyarthi, who spoke in his Nobel lecture of the children he has helped to free from slave labour in factories and mines – children who have been kidnapped and forced into a life of criminal activity and prostitution.
“Why did you not come earlier?” asked an eight-year-old girl immediately after her rescue from intergenerational debt and bonded labour in India. “Every minute matters,” said Mr Satyarthi. “Whose children are they?...They are our children.”
The Nobel Committee wrote:
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. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.
Ms Yousafzai brought five friends with her to the ceremony – all girls who, like herself, have been victims of rape and assault – and who have refused to remain silent. In her Nobel lecture, Ms Yousafzai emphasised that she wants to be the voice for all of the millions who are not heard.
“I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not,” she said.
Ms Yousafzai also emphasised that she was honoured to receive the award together with Kailash Satyarthi, “who has been a champion of children’s rights for a long time. Twice as long, in fact, than I have been alive.” Then she added that she is glad they canstand together and show the world that an Indian and a Pakistani can be united in peace and together work for children’s rights.
Both Nobel Laureates received a standing ovation for their powerful lectures as well as for their appeals for support and action to benefit the children of the world.
The Nobel Banquet
In the evening, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit were in attendance at the traditional banquet held at the Grand Hotel in Oslo in honour of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.