Malala Yousafzai, the 22-year-old Pakistani activist and youngest recipient ever of a Nobel Peace Prize, graduated from Oxford University, she said on Friday.
And if one wonders what comes next for one of the world’s most famous girls’ education advocates, Ms. Yousafzai, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, says she doesn’t know. But sleep, books, and Netflix are on the list.
“Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now as I completed my Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree at Oxford,” Ms. Yousafzai wrote on Twitter, as she shared a picture with her family and one taken after a “trashing,” a ceremony in which students are covered with confetti, foam and food after completing their exams.
Ms. Yousafzai began studying at Oxford in October 2017, after she was formally accepted earlier that year at one of its colleges, Lady Margaret Hall, where Pakistan’s first female prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, studied in the 1970s. Ms. Yousafzai completed the Philosophy, Politics and Economy degree, one of the university’s most prestigious.
All students were asked to leave Oxford, about 55 miles northwest of London, in March after it closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some buildings are scheduled to gradually reopen over the summer, and the university has said it plans to open to all students for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Ms. Yousafzai, who was born and grew up in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, was 15 in 2012 when Taliban gunmen shot her in the head and critically wounded her because of her strong criticism of the group’s attempts to prevent girls from going to school. At the time of the shooting, she was writing on a blog for the BBC’s website about life under the Taliban in Pakistan. She was encouraged by her father, who ran one of the last schools in the area that continued to educate girls.
Ms. Yousafzai was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, where doctors treated her for months, and where she and her family relocated permanently that same year.
Ms. Yousafzai later founded, with her father, the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization advocating girls’ education. More than 132 million girls worldwide do not attend any school, according to Unicef, the United Nations agency for children, and girls living in countries affected by conflict are twice as likely to be left without an education than those in other places.
In 2014, at age 17, Ms. Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner for children’s rights, jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. “It seems like pressure, but it’s not pressure,” Ms. Yousafzai said about the prize when it was awarded. “It’s strength and encouragement.”
In 2018, she returned to Pakistan for the first time since she was wounded in the Taliban attack, for a tightly organized visit that was characterized by heavy security measures. “For the last five years, I have dreamed of being able to set foot in my country,” she said in an emotional speech.
At Oxford, Ms. Yousafzai said, she joined the cricket club; the Oxford Union, a debating society; and the Oxford Pakistan Society.
“A few — well, many — times, I started an essay at 11 p.m. the night before it was due,” she wrote in Vogue in 2018.
One of Ms. Yousafzai’s next goals will likely be finding a job. “Currently unemployed,” she wrote in an Instagram post on Friday.