Cardiff University student collects award on behalf of Malala

7 July 2017

Student accepting award

A PhD student from Cardiff has accepted an award on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at a prestigious international meeting of universities from the G7 nations.

Sophie Nuber, who is currently studying for a PhD in climate science at Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, was on hand at the Italian Conference of University Rectors (CRUI) to receive the Knowledge CRUI Award.

The award was given to Malala "for her work in favour of the right of girls to attend school, an example of courage, determination and awareness that the right to equality and the construction of a sustainable and better future is solely based on knowledge.”

Solid and undisputable scientific research

As a representative of young women in higher education and science, Sophie was asked to collect the award on behalf of Malala.

Sophie attended the event at the University of Udine in Italy alongside Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan and set out to deliver a message about changing the political debate around climate change and grounding it in solid and undisputable scientific research.

After picking up the award, Sophie said: “To me, Malala embodies everything we young women strive for: critical thinking, standing up for what you believe in, even when under pressure, bravery, and fighting for equality globally and locally...”

“I am highly honoured, especially as a British student, to be selected to receive this award on her behalf.”

Sophie Nuber

Over 150 rectors, professors and students attended the event from 13 universities in the G7 countries, joining 77 Italian universities, 6 research bodies, 31 organizations and 30 experts. The aim of the event was to draw up a manifesto addressed to all the universities and ministries of the world to say what universities can and must do to create a sustainable future.

Youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate

Sophie will hand over the award to the Malala Foundation at a special ceremony in London later this year.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In 2012, the Taliban attempted to murder Malala, sparking an outpouring of national and international support for her.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “Very much in the spirit of Malala herself, Sophie is an inspiring young woman with an extremely important message, which is that nobody should be denied the opportunity of an education.

“It was therefore very pleasing to see Sophie accept the award on behalf of Malala in front of a group of influential university leaders on the international stage.”

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