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Pakistani man, 15-year-old daughter to be honored in OKC with 2013 Reflections of Hope Award

by Silas Allen Modified: February 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm •  Published: February 7, 2013

A Pakistani father and daughter who defied the Taliban to work for girls' education are this year's recipients of an Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum award, officials announced.

Human rights activist Ziauddin Yousafzai will accept the 2013 Reflections of Hope Award at an April 8 ceremony in Oklahoma City. Yousafzai will receive the award on behalf of himself and his daughter and fellow activist, Malala Yousafzai.

“They both represent what we're trying to teach at the memorial,” said museum Executive Director Kari Watkins.

Ziauddin Yousafzai is the founder and director of the Khushal Public School, a Pakistani school for girls. He has also been involved with Swat Qaumi Jirga, an anti-Taliban council in the Swat Valley area of Pakistan. He has been a staunch advocate for educational access and citizens' rights.

Malala Yousafzai came to international attention in October, when she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban as she was on her way home from school. Since then, she has undergone extensive treatment in London. She told Pakistan's Geo News channel this week that she'd recovered her eyesight and was able to talk and walk again.

She had previously written under a pseudonym for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban, and often spoke about her family's efforts to educate girls in an area where the Taliban had banned girls from attending school.

Watkins said the 15-year-old activist is an example of the ideals of nonviolence and courage the memorial seeks to promote, particularly because she has continued to speak against the Taliban after the attack. “The terrorists did not win,” Watkins said. “They didn't silence her.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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