Five years ago, the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai in the head for advocating the right of girls to be educated. Now she has won a place at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, to study philosophy, politics and economics, or PPE.
The 20-year-old Nobel peace prize winner tweeted a screenshot of the confirmation and said: “So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students – the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead!”
So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students – the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead! pic.twitter.com/miIwK6fNSf
— Malala (@Malala) August 17, 2017
Yousafzai comes from the Swat valley, an area in north-west Pakistanwhich has periodically banned girls from attending school. When the Taliban were driven out of the region in 2012, Yousafzai stepped up her campaign for girls to be allowed to go to school.
Her persistence and the growing prominence of her activism – she had blogged anonymously for BBC Urdu when she was just 11 in 2009 – prompted the Taliban to hold a meeting in 2012 at which they unanimously agreed to murder her.
A few months later, a Taliban gunman shot the schoolgirl as she returned home after an exam. In a coma for eight days, Yousafzai was treated first in Pakistan then sent to the UK, to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, for treatment.
Earlier this year, Yousafzai revealed she had received an offer from Oxford, which was conditional on achieving three As at A-level. Yousafzai took A-levels in history, maths, religious studies and geography.
The UN Messenger of Peace, who is also the youngest ever Nobel laureate, spoke of being invited to the college – which was the first in Oxford to admit women – in December for an interview. It was “the hardest interview of my life”, she said, adding: “I just get scared when I think of the interview.”
Yousafzai had also applied to the London School of Economics (LSE), as well as Durham and Warwick universities.
She has lived with her family in Birmingham since being treated at the hospital in the city. She has said she would like to return to Pakistan and become a politician but there had been speculation that she was planning to continue her studies in the US.
While continuing her education at the all-girls Edgbaston high school in Birmingham, Yousafzai founded the non-profit Malala Fund and co-authored I am Malala, an international bestseller. In 2015, she was the subject of the documentary He Named Me Malala. The 2013, 2014 and 2015 issues of Time magazine featured her as one of the world’s most influential people.