TG NEW YORK - Madonna has paid tribute to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai after she became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.  The Pakistani education activist, who was shot by Taliban gunmen after speaking up for girls’ education, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

Actor Reese Witherspoon also paid tribute to Malala, posting an image of “inspiring” teenager holding a sign reading “I am stronger than fear”. “A huge heartfelt congratulations to #Malala on winning the #NobelPeacePrize today”, she wrote.

“At 17 years old, you awe and inspire so many childrena nd adults with your strength, hard work and powerful message. “It’s equally inspiring to see, on days like today, how people around the world are actively supporting and pushing you closer towards your goals - of getting children everywhere to get to go to school, of women’s equal rights, of spreading messages of hope and nonviolence, and so much more,” Witherspoon wrote, tagging @malalafund and adding #Hope #StrongerThan. Joyful Pakistanis are also celebrating Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize win with music, dance and cake, hailing her award as a victory for girls’ education over Taliban violence.

Tributes for the 17-year-old, the youngest ever Nobel laureate, were led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who called her the “Pride of Pakistan”, while dozens of people from her hometown Mingora gathered at the main intersection to chant slogans and exchange sweets. Marjan Bibi, 11, cut a white pineapple cream cake donated by a local bakery as onlookers clapped and cheered: “Long Live Malala”.

“Malala is a source of pride for us,” said Marjan. “I will also write like Malala and will raise my voice for girls education when I will grow up.” Ayesha Khalid, who was at school with Malala, said: “It’s not Malala alone winning this award, the girls of Pakistan have won it. She is the light of our eyes and the voice of our heart. “She has proved that you can’t put a halt to education by blowing up schools.”

The teenager, who entered the public eye after writing a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service about life under the Taliban during their 2007 - 2009 rule over the Swat Valley, was shot in the head by militants two years ago while on her way to school. Since recovering, she has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, written a best-selling autobiography, and pushed Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan to do more to free hundreds of girls kidnapped by Islamist militants.

Friday’s jubilant celebrations at the Mingora intersection stood in stark contrast to the Taliban’s period of rule when, girls were prevented from going to school and people accused of breaking Sharia law were beheaded at a roundabout a few hundred metres away.

In the city of Peshawar, the capital of the northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkwa area that has borne the brunt of a decade-long Islamist insurgency against the state, some 200 people gathered at the press club to distribute sweets and dance to a powerful drum beat. “The award given to the daughter of this soil, Malala Yousufzai, is not only a recognition of her achievements for the peace but it is also an acknowledgment of our sacrifices in the war against terror continuing for the last ten years,” said provincial governor Mehtab Ahmed Khan.

But the 17-year-old would be forgiven for not immediately recognising the support of supermodel Naomi Campbell, who took to Twitter just hours after the ceremony to add to her thoughts on the occasion. Ms Campbell’s offending tweet, which was still on the site more than seven hours after being posted, also included a link to an instagram picture of the women’s education campaigner. On the picture Ms Yousafzai is quoted: “I speak not for myself but for those without a voice - those who have fought for their right to live in peace.”