Manila (AsiaNews) – The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) has announced that this year seven individuals and one organization from India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Sri Lanka will receive Asia's main prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is considered as Asia's Nobel Prize.
Award winners will be presented with the prize on August 31 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines where each will receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President and a cash prize.
The Magsaysay Award is currently given in six categories: Government Service, Public Service, Community Leadership, Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, Peace and International Understanding and Emergent Leadership. The 2008 prize goes to the following awardees:
Grace Padaca, from the Philippines, for Government Service. She is recognized for “empowering voters in the Philippines' Isabela province to reclaim their democratic right to elect leaders of their own choosing, and to contribute as full partners in their own development.”
The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), from the Philippines, for Public Service. It is being honored for “successful adaptation of microfinance in the Philippines, providing self-sustaining and comprehensive services for half a million poor women and their families.”
Therdchai Jivacate, from Thailand, also for Public Service. He is being honored for “his dedicated efforts in Thailand to provide inexpensive, practical, and comfortable artificial limbs even to the poorest amputees.”
Prakash Amte and Mandakini Amte, from India, for Community Leadership. They are being recognized for “enhancing the capacity of the Madia Gonds [tribal group] to adapt positively in today's India, through healing and teaching and other compassionate interventions.”
Ahmad Syafii Maarif, from Indonesia, for Peace and International Understanding. He is being honored for “guiding Muslims to embrace tolerance and pluralism as the basis for justice and harmony in Indonesia and in the world at large.”
Akio Ishii, from Japan, for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts. He is being recognized for “his principled career as a publisher, placing discrimination, human rights, and other difficult subjects squarely in Japan's public discourse.”
Ananda Galappatti, from Sri Lanka, for Emergent Leadership. He is being recognized for “his spirited personal commitment to bring appropriate and effective psychosocial services to victims of war trauma and natural disasters in Sri Lanka.”
“The Magsaysay awardees of 2008 are indeed pathfinders in a changing Asia, charting new ways to address persistent, often intractable problems in their societies,” says RMAF President Carmencita T. Abella. “Working in different countries on diverse issues of poverty, prejudice, politics, livelihoods, and health, these awardees nevertheless share an uncommon faith in the tremendous potential of people and social institutions.”
Ms Abella praised their “indomitable will and persistence” to mobilize “others to joint their efforts”.
In doing so they “bring us reassuring news of progress, justice, healing, reform, and hope. In a world grown increasingly fragmented and cynical, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation is uniquely privileged to be the bearer of such inspiring news from Asia.”