Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist Malala wins place at Oxford University

Shot by the Taliban in 2012, she will study the prestigious Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at the world famous university

Malala Yousefzai is congratulated after collecting her 'A-Level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham. Darren Staples / Reuters
Malala Yousefzai is congratulated after collecting her 'A-Level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham. Darren Staples / Reuters

She has survived being shot in the head, published an international best seller and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who was nearly murdered by the Taliban, has been awarded a place at Oxford University.

Barely a month after joining Twitter, she used her account to tell her 784,000 followers that she had won a place to study Philosophy Politics and Economics or PPE. Both the university and her course are among the most prestigious in the world.

Malala tweeted: “So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students - the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead!”

The 20-year-old had been given a provisional place at Lady Margaret Hall college, which was confirmed when she received her A Level exam results on Thursday.

It is five years since Malala was shot by a Taliban gunman in the Swat Valley, for promoting girls’ education, which included blogging anonymously for the BBC.

The area had been previously under Taliban control, with girls banned from going to school. In response to her growing prominence, including her nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize, the Taliban held a meeting in 2012 in which it was agreed to kill her.

Her life was saved by a coordinated international response, in which a UAE medical and air ambulance team flew her to the UK for specialist surgery.

She has since relocated to the city of Birmingham in England with her family, attending the all-girls Edgbaston high school where she studied history, maths, religious studies and geography and needed to achieve 'A' grades in at least three subjects.

After recovering, Malala’s life was transformed. She founded the Malala Fund and co-authored I Am Malala, a bestseller which has been translated into 40 languages.

In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate at the age of 17.

Her father Ziauddin Yousafzai also tweeted his congratulations, saying: “My heart is full of gratitude. We are grateful to Allah.”

Lady Margaret Hall was the first Oxford college to admit women. Famous graduates include former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Getting into Oxford, was: “The hardest interview of my life”, Malala said earlier this year, adding: “I just get scared when I think of the interview.”

This year has also seen her appointed the youngest-ever United Nations messenger of peace, focusing on girls’ education.

In her acceptance speech, she told UN delegates: ““If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now and not wait for anyone else.”

The Oxford degree that runs Britain

Better known simply as PPE, the course in Philosophy, Politics and Economics also has another informal title: “the Oxford degree that runs Britain.”

According to The Guardian newspaper: “More than any other course at any other university, more than any revered or resented private school, and in a manner probably unmatched in any other democracy, Oxford PPE pervades British political life.”

Among those with a degree in PPE are the last UK prime minister but one, David Cameron, and dozens of Members of Parliament, including Ed Balls, Edwina Currie, Tony Benn, William Hague and both David and Ed Miliband.

Overseas graduates with an Oxford PPE include prime ministers of Australia, Pakistan, Thailand, a Ghanian president, and the cricketer and politician Imran Khan.

Updated: August 18, 2017 10:49 AM


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