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BISB Student Attends Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

January 06, 2015

The last time BISB student Maya Counter saw Malala Yousafzai, they went shopping at a Boston area mall. Their latest meeting was under very different circumstances: at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

Yousafzai, a young women's rights activist from Pakistan, was honored as a recipient of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, an incredible honor that Counter was able to witness first-hand.

Maya attended the ceremony last month with her sister and father, the director of the Harvard Foundation in Cambridge. It was an incredible opportunity that marked the second time Counter met with Yousafzai.

Last fall, when the young activist was honored as the Harvard Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year, Yousafzai and her father stayed at Maya's home. In December, Maya said she was looking forward to seeing Yousafzai again.

"I am so proud of her, she's accomplished so much," she said.

But Maya's trip to Oslo included a lot more than simply watching the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. She met celebrities, musicians and world leaders, and documented all of it in a journal.

It was hard to sleep leading up to the events surrounding the ceremony, Maya said, especially the night before she attended the rehearsal for the annual Nobel Peace Prize concert.

The next day, it was clear her excitement was warranted: Maya met, chatted and took photos with Queen Latifah, Steven Tyler and three young singers who had written a song about Malala.

"Meeting all mof these talented people is something I will remember forever," Maya wrote. 

But while the celebrity sightings were certainly exciting, Maya said it was seeing Malala again- while riding the elevator in their hotel- and watching her honored with such a prestigous and important award, that was the biggest highlight.

"The ceremony was fantastic, Malala and Kailash Satyarthi (an Indian children's rights activitist) both gave great and remarkable speeches that gave people goosebumps," Maya said. 

The experience of traveling to Oslo for the ceremony, Maya said, is something she will remember forever.

"The two Nobel Peace Prize winners are so fantastic," she said. "I really do hope to see them achieve what they set to achieve...It was overwhelming to be surrounded by such amazing people."