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Malala Yousafzai honoured as Harvard University’s humanitarian of the year

Cambridge, Sep 28 (): Pakistani teenage girl, Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban has been honoured as Harvard University’s humanitarian of the year.

The 16-year-old girl, who is an outspoken supporter for girls’ education, was at Harvard on Friday to accept the 2013 Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award.

Yousafzai is from the Swat Valley, a region of northern Pakistan that is known for its natural beauty but was overrun by the Taliban in 2007. Schools were bombed, police officers beheaded and government officials assassinated by the Taliban.

Last year, the girl was shot by a Taliban group while she was returning from her school in the school van on Oct. 9, 2012. Taliban tried to assassinate her in Pakistan, where she had become an international symbol for women’s education.

She was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen. The attack gained global attention as Yousafzai lay unconscious and in critical condition for days before being transferred in a coma to a hospital in Birmingham, England. On seeing her deeds, the Harvard Foundation presented her with its annual humanitarian award.

At the award ceremony, Malala commanded the stage at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre despite being younger than nearly all of the 900 people sitting enthralled before her. Yousafzai said let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world. She added let us stand up for our rights, and let us fight.

With an extraordinary self-confidence that belied her age, Yousafzai called for continued boldness of efforts by the Taliban and others to deny women an education and she insisted the audience to regard the needs of children displaced and endangered by fighting in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

S. Allen Counter, director of the foundation, which works to bolster inter cultural and race relations said her words and deeds had served to advance humanity.