Washington, D.C. — “Terrific.” That’s what Secretary of State John Kerry said about the news that children’s rights advocates Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India have won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Kerry spoke about the award during a one-on-one interview at the State Department with the chief of VOA’s Afghan Service, Masood Farivar. The Secretary was the first U.S. official to make a public statement about this year’s Peace Prize recipients. “Malala,” he said, “has been a courageous spokesman for the rights of women and girls. I think both of these awardees represent a tremendous statement about the importance for all governments in the world to be focused on women and children.”
Malala rose to international fame after Taliban militants shot her in the head for denouncing Islamic extremists and demanding education for girls.
Satyarthi has headed many peaceful demonstrations focusing on the exploitation of children.
On Afghanistan, Kerry told VOA’s Afghan Service chief that he is “very hopeful” that the national unity government will last. The big question, according to the Secretary, who brokered the agreement that led to the formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan, is whether the Afghan leadership will stay “focused on the big issues that confront the country” and are “determined to try to find the high ground for all of Afghanistan.”
The Secretary of State also emphasized that the United States has “great respect for the very tortured, difficult journey that Afghans have traveled these last years.”
The Voice of America reaches more than 35 percent of Afghans weekly in Dari and Pashto, Afghanistan’s two national languages. Dari and Pashto versions of the interview with the US Secretary of State aired on VOA’s Ashna Radio on Friday and will be broadcasted by Ashna TV on Saturday evening, Kabul time.