Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the 2013 Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, awarded by the European Parliament to those who stand up for human rights.
The 16-year-old is one of the favourites to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, whose winner is to be announced by the Nobel Committee today.
Malala has earned plaudits from across the world after recovering from a failed assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban in October last year in which she was shot in the head as she travelled with classmates on a school bus.
She survived after medical treatment in Pakistan and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said: "Malala bravely stands for the right of all children to be granted a fair education.
"This right for girls is far too commonly neglected.
"Malala has courageously recovered from a Taliban attack and now eloquently advocates through the world for this fundamental and just cause."
Noted past recipients of the Sakharov award include two former Nobel Peace Prize winners; former South African president Nelson Mandela and Burmese politician and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi.
The prize is considered the European Union's top human rights award.