Malala Yousafzai Named TIME’s 100 Most Influential People

© Mark Seliger for TIME

© Mark Seliger for TIME

Malala Yousafzai: People whose courage has been met by violence populate history. Few, though, are as young as Malala was when, at 15, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus in northwestern Pakistan and shot her and two other girls, attempting to both kill Malala and, as the Taliban later said, teach a “lesson” to anyone who had the courage to stand up for education, freedom and self-determination, particularly for girls and women. Or as young as 11, when Malala began blogging for the BBC’s Urdu site, writing about her ambition to become a doctor, her fears of the Taliban and her determination to not allow the Taliban — or her fear — to prevent her from getting the education she needed to realize her dreams.

Malala is now where she wants to be: back in school. The Taliban almost made Malala a martyr; they succeeded in making her a symbol. The memoir she is writing to raise awareness about the 61 million children around the world who are not in school indicates she accepts that unasked-for responsibility as a synonym for courage and a champion for girls everywhere. However Malala concludes her book, her story so far is only just beginning.

The 15-year old, who also has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, had surgery in February to repair the hole left in her skull by a gunman’s bullet, and now lives in exile in Britain.

The annual list picks luminaries from art, business and politics whose achievement make them among the world’s most vital and vibrant figures. A full list of this year’s selection is available at TIME.

Description courtesy of Chelsea Clinton

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