Pakistani child education advocate Malala Yousafzai and Indian child-rights activist Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Yousafzai, 17, who was shot by Taliban gunmen in 2012 for speaking up for the rights of children and women, became the youngest ever winner of the prize. The announcement was made on Friday morning in the Norwegian capital of Oslo by Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

“Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, in a statement released after the ceremony. “Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”

Yousafzai, who was awarded the National Youth Peace Prize by the government of Pakistan in 2011, is the first Nobel laureate born in independent Pakistan.   

Satyarthi, who is the founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan -- an Indian organization working toward ending child slavery and human trafficking -- has shown “great personal courage” in his campaign for the rights of children, the Nobel Committee said, in the statement.

“(Satyarthi) has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.  He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights,” the Nobel Committee said.

“The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” the statement read.

This year witnessed a record 278 nominations for the peace prize, including Pope Francis, and U.S. whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. While the names of the nominees are not disclosed by the Nobel Committee and the nomination process itself is shrouded in secrecy, the Peace Research Institute Oslo -- a Norwegian peace studies organization -- published a partial list of confirmed nominees earlier this week.

According to reports, the list of nominees included Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which is considered a staunch critic of Putin.