Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai was a rumored favorite for the prize.

ByABC News
October 11, 2013, 11:54 AM

Oct. 11, 2013— -- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Hague, Netherlands-based global chemical watchdog "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

The OPCW, formed in 1997, currently has a team on the ground in Syria to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's stockpile of chemical weapons.

"OPCW has NOT been given the #NobelPeacePrize because of Syria but because of its long standing work," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a tweet after the announcement.

A rumored favorite for the prize was Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt a year ago this week, and became a symbol of girls rights' for education and security through her efforts to fight extremism and oppression.

"Nobel Peace Prize is just an award," Malala told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview before the award was announced. "My real prize, the real award that I want, is peace ... only peace."

Hours after the announcement the Malala Fund's offical Twitter account sent a congratulatory tweet.

"Congratulations @OPCW on winning the #Nobelpeaceprize and your wonderful work for humanity. Honoured to have been nominated."

Malala, a school girl from the Swat Valley region in northwest Pakistan, spoke out against the Taliban after they issued an edict in 2009 banning all girls from going to school in Swat. At the age of 11, Malala began blogging for the BBC about her life under the Taliban, denouncing their attacks on schools, teachers and students. She also appeared in a New York Times documentary by Adam B. Ellick, "Class Dismissed," which detailed her fight against the Taliban.

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"We are starving for education," she told Diane Sawyer in an earlier interview. "For us, it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond."

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On Oct. 9, 2012, a gunman sent by the Taliban shot Malala in the head at point-blank range while she was on her way home from school. The bullet missed her brain.

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Malala has since gone on to found the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports girls' education around the world through grants and partner collaborations.

ABC News' Anthony Castellano contributed to this report.