Malala Yousafzai Speech accepting the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
October 4th 2013
Dear friends, honoured guests, High Commissioner, I am moved beyond words to be honoured with this great award.
Anna Politkovskaya was a dedicated journalist and human rights activist. She campaigned passionately about issues which concerned her. She spoke out about causes which other people dared not speak about. She was brave. She was an inspiration.
I have been very fortunate over recent months to have been given a number of awards from different organisations all over the world. Each one has been extremely special to me in its own way. I am particularly proud to have been chosen to receive an award which bears Anna’s name. I hope that I and many other women may be as brave as she was.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the attempt to silence Malala Yousafzai and end her campaign for girls’ rights to go to school. Ahead of the seventh anniversary of the murder of Russian campaigning journalist, Anna Politkovskaya on Monday 7th October, RAW in WAR honoured Malala with the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage to speak out when nobody else dared, for her strength to give a voice to the many women and girls, whose voices cannot be heard, and for her passionate belief in promoting education for girls.
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of the Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. To date, thekillers and those who ordered her murder have still not been brought to justice.
We the undersigned are supporters of the human rights organisation RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War). On Friday 4 October, we presented the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award, set up to recognise women defending human rights in zones of war and conflict, often at great personal risk, to Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan), the brave 16-year-old girl, who was shot by the Taliban on 9 October last year for campaigning for education for girls, which is banned by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan): Winner of the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
On Friday 4th October 2013 in London, 16 year old Malala Yousafzai accepted the award from 104 year old human rights defender, Sir Nicholas Winton, known as “the British Schindler”
RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) celebrates the courageous and inspiring work of Malala Yousafzai, the brave young woman from Pakistan who has courageously spoken out about the right of every girl and every boy around the world to receive an education. Defying the strict ban imposed by the Taliban on girls attending school, she refused to be silenced in the face of grave danger, just like Anna Politkovskaya did. Malala Yousafzai was only 15 years-old when she was shot by the Taliban on 9 October last year for campaigning for education for girls.
Ahead of the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on Monday 7th October RAW in WAR honours Malala with the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage to speak out when nobody else dared, for her strength to give a voice to the many women and girls, whose voices cannot be heard, and for her passionate belief in promoting education for girls.
On accepting the award Malala Yousafzai said:
“Anna Politkovskaya was a dedicated journalist and human rights activist. She campaigned passionately about issues, which concerned her. She spoke out about causes, which other people dared not speak about. She was brave and an inspiration. I am extremely proud to have been chosen to receive an award, which bears Anna’s name and hope that I may be as brave as she was. I greatly admire Anna’s dedication to truth, to equality, and to humanity.”
VIDEO: Anna Politkovskaya - Anna Politkovskaya Award 2013
The RAW in WAR Nominations Committee for the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award was deeply humbled by the bravery and courage of Malala and by the determination with which she continues her campaign for education for girls, despite the threats she faces. She lives a life of courage and truth-telling in the face of grave danger, as Anna did.
On Malala receiving the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Lord Frank Judd, a member of the 2013 Award Nominations Committee, said:
”I am convinced that Anna would have been delighted. The courage and effectiveness of Anna and Malala are a huge challenge to us all.”
Anna Politkovskaya was a journalist in her forties, when she wrote against human rights abuses; Malala is only 16 and still continuing her education. However, like Anna, Malala believes that a pen is a powerful weapon and that education can stop people from falling for ideologies of hatred and violence. Like Anna Politkovskaya, Malala did not call for violence or revenge against those, who attacked her. Compassion, tolerance and remaining peaceful were principles that Anna held high in her life.
Malala Yousafzai accepted the award in person at the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award ceremony at the Southbank Centre, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall.
The award was presented by the “British Schindler”, 104 year old Sir Nicholas Winton, who in 1939 organized the escue and saved the lives of 669 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, on the eve of the Second World War. Malala and Sir Nicholas are also the youngest and the oldest persons ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
On presenting the award to Malala, Sir Nicholas Winton said:
“It’s a great pleasure to give this award to someone like Malala, who is so young and yet who is striving to make the world a better, more ethical place.”
Photos: Jenny Matthews for RAW in WAR
VIDEO: Malala Yousafzai: 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award winner video
VIDEO: Sir Nicholas Winton - 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
Elena Kudimova's speech at the 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award
Ladies and gentlemen: good evening!
We are here tonight in this magnificent place surrounded by a large number of courageous women. It is a tremendous privilege. Andit is important that this event focuses specifically on the courage of women. Courage is very often associated with physical strength. And as men are stronger, the courage that women display daily in many ways is overlooked.
This can range from taking physical risks as surgeons or nurses in the front line of conflicts; caring for a large family; or a disabled child with little help or financial support. This courage can make a difference to the lives of us all, not merely for what it achieves but also the example it sets and the inspiration it evokes. As Winston Churchill said: "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others".