By Maria Saporta
Organizers of the 2015 Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Atlanta next November were celebrating today’s news that Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India were awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Both of the globally-respected human rights activists will be invited to be part of the 2015 Summit in Atlanta.
“We have been celebrating this,” Mohammad Bhuiyan, CEO of the Atlanta Summit Organization for the Nobel Peace Laureates. “This is a great decision by the committee.”
Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest recipient of the prize since it was created in 1901. She is also the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. In 2012, she was shot in the head by the Taliban because she was campaigning for the education of girls in Pakistan. Yousafzai, who wrote a memoir of her experiences, has become an international hero for education and the rights of women and girls.;l.4er
Sathyarthi, 60, has continued the tradition of Gandhi in India by leading protests against the exploitation of children for financial gain. He has contributed to the development of important international conventions that promote the rights of children.
Both Yousafzai and Sathyarthi will share the $1.1 million prize equally.
At a news conference, Yousafzai said she had spoken to Sathyarthi about how they would like to use their shared award to help bridge relations between India and Pakistan.
According to Bhuiyan, that is just the kind of message that the 2015 Atlanta Nobel Peace Summit would like to encourage. He already is working on plans to make sure they will be in Atlanta next year.
“We will have both of them in Atlanta for the Summit,” he wrote in an email. “In fact, I will be meeting with Malala next month in the Netherlands. Also, I will be meeting with Kailash in India in the spring.”
It is a much better scenario than what could have happened.
In recent days, there had been increasing speculation that the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded to Edward Snowden, the American computer professional who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency starting in 2013. He is now living in exile in Russia.
Had Snowden won the prize, he would have been the first winner to be subject to arrest if he came to Oslo to accept the award in December. If he had come, in all likelihood, the Swedish government would have had him arrested and extradited to the United States to face a host of charges, including espionage.
No matter what, it would have been highly unlikely Snowden would have been able to make it to Atlanta to participate in the 2015 Summit.
A total of 278 people were nominated for the 2014 Peace Prize.
The 2015 Nobel Peace Laureate Summit will take place in Atlanta from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19 in several downtown venues.