2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Honoring Dedication to Freedom and Education

Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Senado Federal do Brasil under Creative Commons, Share-Alike (CC-SA)
Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Senado Federal do Brasil under Creative Commons, Share-Alike (CC-SA)

LWF Congratulates Joint Winners Malala Yousafzay and Kailash Satyarthi

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) welcomes recognition of the critical role of “education for all” in the naming of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzay and Indian child right’s advocate Kailash Satyarthi as the joint winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize today.

“Education as a right for all girls irrespective of the risks involved was the mission a young Malala undertook so courageously in Pakistan when extremists shot her. We give thanks to God that she has become such a strong advocate for children’s access to education,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge.

Junge noted LWF’s commitment to education as an evangelical call. “As we look forward to celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it is important to recall Martin Luther’s exemplary action of setting up primary schools so that children could learn and not be exploited because of lack of education.”

Lutherans have continued this tradition through thousands of public schools—including children’s education in conflict zones—and higher institutions of theological and other studies around the world. Skills’ training through churches’ diaconal work is a crucial part of education and empowerment, the general secretary added.

For LWF Youth Secretary Ms Caroline Richter, “Malala as co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at only 17, is an encouragement for LWF’s fundamental value that youth participation and leadership are part of our identity. We recognize that there is great value in providing space for young people to take initiatives. That is why youth in the LWF are leading initiatives such as the climate justice campaign.”

However, Richter noted, leadership can only be nurtured in a supportive environment. “The biblical citation ‘Let no one despise you for your youth …(1 Tim 4:12)’  encourages young Christians to dare to do great things. It is important that we continue in the LWF to provide space to listen to what young people are saying and wishing, and respond appropriately.”

Junge said the work of the Indian activist Satyarthi resonates well with LWF’s focus on human trafficking. The World Service programs in countries such as Nepal are working with civil society organizations to provide alternative livelihoods for freed bonded laborers such as the Kamaiyas, he said. “Freeing and rehabilitating child and adult laborers through education restores their dignity and empowers them to become responsible citizens in their respective contexts,” he said.

Junge added that the Nobel Peace Prize winners were announced on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child [11 October] with the theme ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’. “What a remarkable coincidence, as we honor two individuals who have dedicated their lives for freedom and education.”