On Oct. 9, Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani women's rights activist, was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen while returning home from school—a place the Taliban have, at times, banned girls from attending. Yousafzai was hospitalized in critical condition and eventually transferred to a U.K. hospital, where she continues to recover.
Gordon Brown, the U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education, launched a U.N. petition ("I Am Malala") in her name, demanding all children—including Pakistani girls—have access to schooling.
And in November, Time magazine nominated Malala as one of its 2012 "Person of the Year" candidates. Malala, Time said, "has become an inspiration not only in her native Pakistan—where the culture wars over women's rights and religious diversity have taken many violent turns—but all around the globe."