WASHINGTON - Himself a Nobel laureate from 2009, US President Barack Obama congratulated Malala Yousafzai on winning the coveted peace award, stating the teenaged activist has inspired people around the world with her determined efforts for girls right to education.

“On behalf of Michelle, myself and all Americans, I want to congratulate Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi (of India) on winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said.

The US President, his wife Michelle Obama and their elder daughter Malia met Malala Yousafzai at the White House in 2013, during her visit to promote her memoir “I am Malala”.

“We were awe-struck by her courage and filled with hope knowing this is only the beginning of her extraordinary efforts to make the world a better place,” he said, recalling that meeting.

“Today’s announcement is a victory for all who strive to uphold the dignity of every human being,” the US President said.

“At just 17 years old, Malala Yousafzai has inspired people around the world with her passion and determination to make sure girls everywhere can get an education. When the Taliban tried to silence her, Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve. Michelle and I were proud to welcome this remarkable young woman to the Oval Office last year.” 

Obama also praised Kailash Satyarthi for dedicating his life to ending child labour and wiping the stain of slavery from our world.  “The true measure of Kailash’s efforts is not a single prize he has been awarded, but the tens of thousands of people who today live with freedom and dignity thanks to his efforts.  Through his advocacy, Kailash reminds us of our shared responsibility to end the exploitation of others, especially the most vulnerable among us.   

“Malala and Kailash have faced down threats and intimidation, risking their own lives to save others and build a better world for future generations.

“They come from different countries, religious backgrounds, and generations—a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian – but they share an unyielding commitment to justice and an unshakeable belief in the basic dignity of every girl and boy. 

“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. 

“Today, we honour Malala and Kailash’s achievements, and reaffirm that the United States will always stand with those who defend our universal human rights.”

Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also congratulated Malala, stating that the United Nations will continue to stand with her against extremism and for girls right to education.

"Malala is a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher. She said one pen can change the world – and proved how one young woman can lead the way," the UN chief said in a statement. "With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most: a girl with a book."

He added, "Malala is a daughter of the United Nations, from participating in UNICEF events years ago to marking the 500-day countdown to the Millennium Development Goals with us at UN headquarters this summer. The United Nations will continue to stand with her against extremism and for the right of girls everywhere to be free of violence, to go to school and to enjoy their right to an education."

"Thanks in large measure to Satyarthi’s heroic work, the world has moved from denial about abusive child labour to acknowledgement, awareness and action. He has successfully brought together the key elements for success in the fight against the worst forms of child labour – moral outrage, personal commitment, and societal engagement," Ban said.

"I congratulate both leaders for this well-deserved recognition. The true winners today are the world’s children."

Meanwhile, the UN agency for children's welfare also congratulated the "two powerful advocates for children’s rights, have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize".

UNICEF"s statement said, “The timing of well-deserved honour for two brave and determined champions for children could not be more appropriate: This is the year the international community celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“This award will be an inspiration to all the millions of unnamed and unknown children around the world who battle silently in their own lives for the right to an education and the right to be heard and protected.

“The courage of Malala and Kailash is a rallying cry for the cause of children, everywhere.”