New York: A 16-year-old Pakistani girl and likely contender for the Nobel Peace Prize was in New York on Thursday, the eve of this year`s prize announcement, to promote her memoir of her campaign for girls` education and surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai was in the city for a media interview, just hours after the announcement she won the USD 65,000 Sakharov Award, Europe`s top human rights award.
The accolade and buzz for the teenager came almost exactly a year after she was shot in the head for her outspoken support for girls` education.
The assassination attempt drew worldwide attention to the struggle for women`s rights in Pakistan. Malala addressed the United Nations on her 16th birthday, and she expects to meet with Queen Elizabeth II later this month.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee will say only that a record 259 candidates, including 50 organizations, have been nominated this year. Speculation on frontrunners for Friday`s announcement is primarily based on previous choices and current events.
Besides Malala, others getting attention are Congolese surgeon Dr Denis Mukwege, an advocate for women`s rights; Svetlana Gannushkina and the Memorial human rights group she heads in Russia; Egyptian computer scientist Maggie Gobran, who chucked her academic career to become a Coptic Christian nun and run a charity; and Army Pvt Chelsea Manning, the American soldier convicted of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks in one of the biggest intelligence leaks in US history.
Malala has been giving TV interviews about girls` education since she was 11. Her father, human rights activist Ziauddin Yousafzai, founded an all-girls school in Pakistan. Becoming well-known made her a potential Taliban target.
But she writes in her new book, "I Am Malala", that she thought "even the Taliban don`t kill children."
But on October 09, 2012, a masked gunman jumped into a pickup truck taking girls home from the school and shouted "who is Malala" before shooting her in the head.
Her father asked his brother-in-law to prepare a coffin. But Malala woke up a week later at a hospital in Birmingham, England, and gradually regained her sight and her voice.
The world`s horrified reaction to the attack led to the Malala Fund, which campaigns for girls` education around the world. Malala has received multiple awards.
Still, militants threaten to kill her if she returns home.