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Malala Yousafzai named 2014 Liberty Medal recipient

The 2014 Liberty Medal will be bestowed upon 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient in the medal's 25-year history.

United States President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, in the Oval Office on 11 October 2013. Credit: White House. United States President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, in the Oval Office on 11 October 2013. Credit: White House.

The 2014 Liberty Medal will be bestowed upon 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient in the medal's 25-year history.

Malala, a persecuted advocate for young women's education in her home country of Pakistan, will be honored for "Her continued demonstration of courage and resilience in the face of adversity and for serving as a powerful voice for those who have been denied their basic human rights and liberties," according to a statement from the National Constitution Center.

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“It's an honor to be awarded the Liberty Medal,” Malala said in a statement. “I accept this award on behalf of all the children around the world who are struggling to get an education.”

Because of Malala’s staunch support for women's education she has frequently come under attack from terrorists and extrememists.

Using the pen name Gul Makai, and at age 11, she began writing for the BBC about her life and the lack of education for young women in Pakistan under Taliban rule.

While she received praise for her work, including Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize and a nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her in Oct. 2012. A member of the extremist group shot her in the head while she was on her way home from school.

Outcry following the shooting led to the country's first Education rights bill.

The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. outside the National Constitution Center.

Previous recipients of the Liberty Medal, which was established in commemoration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, include former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, Muhammad Ali, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair and Nelson Mandela.

The honor was bestowed upon former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

 
 
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