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Malala: I Feel ‘More Powerful’ After Nobel Win

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Updated 2:19p.m. ET

Pakistani education rights advocate Malala Yousafzai said Friday her Nobel Peace Prize would motivate her to redouble her efforts on behalf of girls’ education and children’s rights.

In a short speech reacting to the award, the 17-year-old Nobel laureate also said that she and Indian co-winner Kailash Satyarthi would use the shared award as an opportunity to build peace between India and Pakistan.

“I felt more powerful and more courageous, because this award is not just a piece of metal… its really an encouragement for me to go forward and to believe in myself,” Malala said. “This is not the end of the campaign I have started. This is only the beginning.”

“I want to tell children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights, they shouldn’t wait for someone else,” she continued. “This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard.”

Malala also said that she and Satyarthi, an advocate against child labor, had spoken on the phone after winning the award, and had discussed working together to fight for the rights of children in both India and Pakistan:

We are the two Noble award receivers, one from Pakistan, one from India, one believes in Hinduism, one believes strongly in Islam. It gives a message to people, it gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, between different religions. If we both support each other it does not matter the colour of your skin, what language you speak, what religion you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other human beings and respect each other and we should all fight for our rights, the rights of children, or the rights of women and the rights of every human being.

She said they also agreed to request that their respective Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony in December, in order to build a stronger relationship between the two nations.

President Obama, who won the award in 2009, congratulated the winners in a statement. “In recognizing Malala and Kailash, the Nobel Committee reminds us of the urgency of their work to protect the rights and freedoms of all our young people and to ensure they have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential, regardless of their background, or gender, or station in life,” he said. “Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek ­— one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally.”

See Malala's Life In Photos

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai raises her hands with some of the escaped kidnapped school girls of government secondary school Chibok during a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria on July 14, 2014. Olamikan Gbemiga—AP
JORDAN-SYRIA-PAKISTAN-REFUGEES-YOUSAFZAI
Malala Yousafzai walks alongside Syrian refugee Mazoon Rakan after attending a press conference at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian border with Syria on Feb. 18, 2014. AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, attends an award ceremony to receive her 2013 Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg
Malala Yousafzai attends an award ceremony to receive her 2013 Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Nov. 20, 2013.Vincent Kessler—Reuters
Pakistani teenage activist Yousafzai poses for pictures before an event launching her memoir "I Am Malala" in London
Malala Yousafzai poses for pictures before an event launching her memoir "I Am Malala" at the Southbank Centre in London on Oct. 20, 2013. Olivia Harris—Reuters/Corbis
Queen Elizabeth II Receives Malala At Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip meet Malala Yousafzai during a Reception for Youth, Education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace in London on Oct. 18, 2013.Yui Mok—Getty Images
In this handout image provided by the White House, the Obama family meets with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office on Oct. 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.
The Obama family meets with Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct. 11, 2013.The White House/Getty Images
NETHERLANDS-PAKISTAN-UNREST-PEACE-PRIZE-MALALA
Malala Yousafzai raises a trophy after being honored with the International Children's Peace Prize in the Netherlands, on Sept. 6, 2013. AFP/Getty Images
malala nobel peace prize
Malala Yousafzai was on the cover of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list in 2013.TIME
UN-PAKISTAN-YOUTH-MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai speaks before the United Nations Youth Assembly in New york on July 12, 2013.Stan Honda—AFP/Getty Images
Family Of Malala Yousafzai Arrive In UK
Malala Yousafzai sits up in her hospital bed with her father and her two younger brothers, on Oct. 26, 2012, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The 15 year-old Malala was being treated after she was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan two weeks earlier. Getty Images
Sharia Law in Pakistan's Swat Valley and North-West Frontier Province
Malala Yousafzai lives in the Swat Valley with her family seen here on March 26, 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan. Veronique de Viguerie—Getty Images

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com