Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize Speech

This study guide will help you analyze Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for discussing it.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech” [2014]
Sender: Malala Yousafzai 
Genre: Speech

Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997) is a Pakistani activist known for her human rights advocacy efforts, especially for providing girls with equal opportunities for education. Yousafzai began to advocate for education at a young age, when the local Taliban took power in her native district of Swat in Pakistan and banned girls from attending school. After Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012, her activism grew into an international movement for the right to education, and she became an influential global figure. In 2014, at the age of 17, Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which she received for her efforts to promote the right of all children to education.

You can watch the full speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


Antithesis (presenting opposite concepts for a contrasting effect) is used by Yousafzai to highlight and compare ideas.  

Antithesis is used by Yousafzai to suggest how dramatically her life changed after the Taliban took over Swat: “And our beautiful dreams turned into nightmares”. She is then more explicit about this through another statement which uses antithesis: “Education went from being a right to being a crime”. Yousafzai also uses antithesis to suggest that some powerful countries are prioritizing destructive actions instead of constructive ones, such as supporting education:

Why is it that countries which we call “strong” are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard?

Also, the antithesis between “first” and “last” helps the speaker suggest that her generation is able to solve the world education crisis: “let us become the first generation that decides to be the last that sees empty classrooms, lost childhoods, and wasted potentials”.

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Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize Speech

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