Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai

31 Dec
Number 1 Hero of 2012

Number 1 Hero of 2012

Even with all the wonderful nominations TSM received for Hero of the Year, the winner was clear from early on. No one received more nominations than Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The final decisions were based on more than just votes, however. Yousafzai — a young woman of 15! — is a shining example of social justice. Having virtually no inherent power or privilege, she found her voice at the age of 11 and has used it to great effect.

All of the heroes and honorable mentions have made the world a better place. What sets Yousafzai apart is the very real risks she takes every day. She has less to start with and has put it all on the line, even suffering a potentially fatal gunshot wound from Taliban assassins.

Her mission is simple but powerful — every child in the world should have access to a reasonable education by 2015. Coming from a place that believes women should never be educated, she understands the power of learning and reading. Nurtured by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, also an education activist, she began blogging about conditions in her province for the BBC at age 11. She also attended a Peshawar press club event, getting rousing applause for her powerful question:

How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?

For her powerful voice, tireless activism, willingness to risk all, and youthful promise, TSM is proud to honor Malala Youfsazai as Hero of the Year.

Honorable mention for the top spot goes to another Muslim activist seeking change. Ludovic Mohammed Zahed started the Unity mosque in Paris, the first fully LGBT embracing house of Islamic worship. Zahed’s mission includes full inclusion for women and transgender worshippers. He’s another brilliant example of change from the grass roots and a great example of using personal power to change the world for everyone’s benefit.

18 Responses to “Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai”

  1. Central Oregon Coast NOW December 31, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Wonderful choices! The more I’ve thought about it I think Malala deserved this “hands down”, considering the risks she took, the leadership she showed, at such a young age.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 31, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      I was very impressed with the number of nominations she received for Number 1 Hero of the Year. She gives us hope and allows us to witness great courage.

  2. dykewriter December 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    second that!

  3. nevercontrary December 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    What I find truly telling of these stories of amazing women, is how in America those that oppress women here act all aghast that this girl would have to go through this.
    I wish there were more women like here in every country.

  4. Christine Noble January 1, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    We could all learn from this young woman’s example.

  5. Bruce Thompson January 1, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    It’s the power of SOUL. Soul has no age or form. Only what stirs the spirit when we listen – not fear or attempt to silence it! A lesson here for gay people who choose to “lock” their LIGHT in a “CLOSET!”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 1, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      Yes, I hope the LGBT community will glean some courage from Malala and Ludovic. We must, as a community, become more visible. Our visibility gives us our power and our dignity.

  6. Diane January 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Reblogged this on Northern Lights Cafe and commented:
    Totally awesome🙂

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Thank you for reblogging my story on Malala. She is an amazing woman with great courage.

  7. katybrandes January 3, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Thank you for highlighted this magnificent young woman’s brave actions. I’ve also been following the news of her health and think you’ve made a most excellent choice here!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 4, 2013 at 6:47 am #

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Katy. Happy New Year to you and let us all take inspiration from Malala.

  8. webwordwarrior January 7, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Another perfect choice and a great way to wrap up 2012. This young woman is a brave and wonderful model for true humans everywhere.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 7, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks, Lex. Yes, it seems unanimous thus far that TSM readers are quite inspired by our Malala.


  1. Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai « The Solipsistic Me « Central Oregon Coast NOW - December 31, 2012

    […] Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai « The Solipsistic Me. […]

  2. Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai « Northern Lights Cafe - January 2, 2013

    […] Number 1 Hero of the Year 2012: Malala Yousafzai. […]

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