A musician from the Philippines, two journalists from Myanmar and India, and two activists from Thailand and South Korea contributed with “courage and creativity" to human development on the continent. The award ceremony is set for 9 September.
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award was given to a musician from the Philippines, two journalists from Myanmar and India, a human rights activist from Thailand, and the father of a young South Korean suicide victim.
Three days ago, the Foundation named after a President of the Philippines, announced the names of the laureates of the 61st edition of the Award known as Asia’s Nobel for their "courage and creativity" in enhancing human development on the continent. The award ceremony will take place on 9 September at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila.
Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab is the only Filipino among the winners. The 65-year-old composer and conductor began his career in the late seventies. His musical output has inspired several generations of his compatriots. The Foundation rewards the artist because he was able to show "that music can indeed instill pride and joy, and unify people across the many barriers that divide them."
Ko Swe Win, 41, is the editor-in-chief of Myanmar Now. In 2017, he criticised the influential ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu for engaging in "hate speech" and publicly praising the murderer of a Muslim human rights activist. The journalist stands out for "undaunted commitment to practice independent, ethical, and socially engaged journalism in Myanmar".
Ravish Kumar is a 44-year-old anchor, journalist and leading figure in Indian media. The Foundation recognised “his unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards; his moral courage in standing up for truth, integrity, and independence; and his principled belief that it is in giving full and respectful voice to the voiceless, in speaking truth bravely yet soberly to power, that journalism fulfils its noblest aims to advance democracy".
In 2006, Angkhana Neelapaijit (63) established the Justice for Peace Foundation (JPF), a peace and human rights network. The JPF has carried out important documentation work in southern Thailand, where the country’s Muslim minority is concentrated. In 2004, armed ethnic Malay Muslim groups launched an insurrection that has left nearly 7,000 people, mostly civilians, dead.
In 2015, Angkhana Neelapaijit joined the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT). She receives the award for "her unwavering courage in seeking justice for her husband and many other victims of violence and conflict in southern Thailand”.
Kim Jong-ki was a successful businessman in 1995 when his son took his own life. Following this, he established the Foundation for Preventing Youth Violence (FPYV), the first organised effort in South Korea to tackle violence in schools as a systemic social problem affecting students, families, schools and communities.
The Ramon Magsaysay Foundation awards Kim the prize for his "quiet courage in transforming private grief into a mission to protect Korea’s youth from the scourge of bullying and violence".