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» 02/24/2010
JAPAN – INDIA
Niwano Peace Prize laureate Bhatt, from India, working to promote the status of women
A follower of Gandhi, she is known as the “gentle revolutionary”. She is also the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), which now has 1.2 million members, mostly poor and self-employed women. Her goal is to educate women to take charge of their movement, be strong and visible and lead social change.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Ela Ramesh Bhatt, from India, is the winner of the 27th Niwano Peace Prize. Born in 1933 and a follower of Gandhi’s philosophy, she is known as the “gentle revolutionary” who founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad (India) in 1972. Today it has a membership of 1.2 million, mostly poor and self-employed women.

SEWA’s goal is to organise women workers and their families to gain full employment and economic self-reliance, to educate them to lead their own movement to achieve economic independence and organise for social change.

In 1974, she founded the SEWA Cooperative Bank, whose outreach touches three million women. Subsequently, she organised the International Alliance of Home-based Workers (HomeNet), Street Vendors (StreetNet) and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing Organizing (WIEGO).

For decades, she was a member of the Rockefeller Foundation, and currently sits on the Council of Elders set up by Nelson Mandela in 2007

The Niwano Peace Foundation was established in 1978 to contribute to world peace in such fields as philosophy, culture, science and education. Thanks to donations worth billions of yen, the Foundation organises cultural activities and international exchanges. Every year, it awards the Niwano Peace Prize to individuals or associations that promote peace and inter-faith dialogue.

In the nomination process, some 700 people and organisations, representing 125 countries and many religions, are asked to propose candidates. Nominations are rigorously screened by the Niwano Peace Prize Committee, which is made up of twelve religious leaders from various parts of the world involved in movements for peace and inter-religious cooperation.

The Foundation is the legacy of Nikkyo Niwano, founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organisation Rissho Kosei-kai, whose purpose is to renew Amida Buddhism through deep spirituality, social involvement, promotion of peace and inter-faith dialogue.

Past winners include Archbishop Helder Camara, from Brazil, Rev Philip A. Potter, a former general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Card Paulo Evaristo Arns, the village of Neve Shalom-Wāħat as-Salām founded by Israeli Arabs and Jews, and Jordan’s Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

This year’s award ceremony is scheduled for 13 May in Tokyo. The winner will receive an award certificate, a medal and 20 million yen (US$ 225,000).


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See also
03/01/2012 JAPAN
Guatemalan Rosalina Velasquez Tuyuc awarded 29th Niwano Peace Prize
02/28/2008 JAPAN – JORDAN
Niwano Prize awarded to Jordan’s Prince Hassan
02/28/2014 JAPAN
Dena Merriam, leader of the Global Peace Initiative for Women, wins the Niwano Peace Prize
02/27/2004 japan
Niwano Peace Prize awarded to Ugandan organization
03/01/2011 JAPAN-THAILAND
Sulak Sivaraksa wins 29th Niwano Peace Prize

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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