Dreams, love and happiness were the prevailing themes among the winning entries in a Star Tribune contest asking kids to submit questions for Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
The 19-year-old Pakistani champion for female education makes a rare appearance in Minneapolis on Tuesday to speak at Target Center — and answer questions during her presentation from the three contest winners.
• Thea Heiland, 6, of Shorewood. Her question: “What makes you happy?”
• Dominic Skogen, 8, of Plymouth. His question: “How can people in Minnesota show love to the type of people who tried to kill you?”
• Eva Erickson, 15, of Eagan. Her question: “What advice do you have for someone like me, a normal 15-year-old American girl who has big dreams for changing the world?”
The Star Tribune is sponsoring the event, called “An Evening With Malala Yousafzai.” It’s part of the national Unique Lives and Experiences lecture series featuring prominent female voices. Other stops along Yousafzai’s speaking tour include Seattle, Portland and Providence, R.I.
For the contest, the Star Tribune received a total of 60 submissions from children of all ages across the Twin Cities area. The questions covered a range of issues — including female empowerment, education, finding courage and ending violence. Many of the kids who submitted questions called Yousafzai inspiring.
Born in the Swat Valley of northern Pakistan, Yousafzai grew up with a love of learning. Her father was an outspoken advocate for education and ran a learning institution in town.
In October 2012, when she was 15, Yousafzai was riding a bus home from school with her friends when she was attacked and shot in the head by a Taliban fighter. She was taken to Birmingham, England, to receive treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
She underwent multiple surgeries, including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face, according to her biography on the Nobel Peace Prize website. Eventually she recovered and was able to attend school in England.
She now lives with her family in Birmingham and is a global activist advocating for children’s rights to go to school and receive education — with a particular focus on girls’ education rights.
Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17 — making her the youngest recipient of the prestigious prize. (She shared the prize that year with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.)
Her tireless advocacy earned her other honors, including a nomination for the Peace Prize a year earlier.
Since then, she has written a bestselling book titled “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” and she was the subject of filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s documentary “He Named Me Malala,” released last fall.