Amnesty International says it has awarded its highest honor to the Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai.
The London-based rights group announced on September 17 that Malala will share the 2013 Ambassador of Conscience Award with American singer and human rights activist Harry Belafonte.
The award recognizes “individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights through their life and by example.”
At a ceremony later on September 17 in the Irish capital, Dublin, Malala will be presented with the award by Irish rock singer and human rights activist Bono, accompanied by Azar Nafisi, the American-Iranian writer who authored “Reading Lolita in Tehran.”
In a statement, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Salil Shetty said: “Harry and Malala are truly Ambassadors of Conscience, speaking up for universal rights, justice, and human dignity and inspiring others to follow their example.”
Malala, a schoolgirl and former BBC blogger, wrote about life under Taliban pressure and her views about promoting education for girls.
The 16-year-old was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan last October, in an attack that drew worldwide condemnation. She was flown to Britain for surgery and returned to school in Birmingham in March.
Malala said she was “truly honored” to receive the award, adding: “I hope that by working together we will one day realize our dream of education for every child, in every corner of the world.”
Emmy Award-winner Belafonte described his co-winner as a “true hero of our time.”
Amnesty said Belafonte has dedicated his life to humanitarian causes, “spanning the civil rights movement to the plight of children caught in Syria’s armed conflict.”
Previous recipients of the Ambassador of Conscience Award include Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Earlier this month, the Dutch children’s rights organization KidsRights presented Malala with its 100,000 euro ($130,000) International Children’s Peace Prize. The money is to be invested in girls’ education projects in Pakistan.