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Sakharov Prize 2013 award ceremony

Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year old Pakistani girl campaigner for girls’ right to education and 2013 laureate of the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, received her prize from Parliament’s President Martin Schulz at a ceremony in Strasbourg, on 20 November.

"I am proud that our Parliament is paying homage to the immense courage shown by a heroine, a survivor, a 16 year-old child, who defied fanaticism in order to defend her right to go to school", said the President.

"You have reminded us of a fundamental truth: giving people access to knowledge is the best investment a society can make in the fight against intolerance, isolation, violence and poverty", he added.

"A powerful country is not the one with more arms and soldiers. A powerful country is the one with more educated and skilled people", said Malala Yousafzai. "Many children are starving for education... "These children do not want an Iphone, an X-box, a Playstation or chocolates. They just want a book and a pen...It is hard to imagine a world without education", she added. "There is poverty, lack of freedom, fear and terrorism, but there is hope. Because we are all here together united to help these children, to speak for them, to take action", added Malala.
Twenty-two former Sakharov Prize laureates were present in the plenary room for the award ceremony, as the European Parliament celebrates this week the 25th anniversary of the Prize for freedom of thought and all former laureates were invited to attend a series of debates and events in Strasbourg.

"Our thoughts go out to the other winners who are still deprived of their freedom, and to the winners who have left us, and our applause is for them as well. We have not forgotten them, or their struggles", said President Schulz.