Ramon Magsaysay awardees announced

A statement released by the RMAF said that this year’s awardees portray a moral courage that remains unchanged in the face of repression

Representative image
Representative image

NH Web Desk

The Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s premier prize, has been awarded to four individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Southeast Asia, and an Indonesian organisation, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation announced in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.

A statement released by the RMAF said that this year’s awardees portray a moral courage that remains unchanged in the face of repression. “Embracing the challenges of their respective advocacies, these leaders take bold, creative, and empowering actions that engage others to do likewise. Perhaps the most powerful impact of their leadership can be seen in the heightened moral courage through the many lives they have touched and inspired.”

The first awardee Roberto Ballon from the Philippines created a sustainable marine environment and revived a dying fishing industry with the help of other fisherfolk.

Steven Muncy from Southeast Asia, the second awardee, for dedicating his entire life to humanitarian work, refugee assistance and peace building.

Firdausi Qadri, a leading scientist from Bangladesh, is being awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award for her contributions to “vaccine development, advanced biotechnological therapeutics and critical research that has been saving millions of precious lives”, while also creating the space and infrastructure for women scientists to flourish in the country. Qadri has also previously worked with a United Nations High-level panel and been conferred with many international honours, including the Bill Gates Award.

The last individual to receive the award this year is Muhammad Amjad Saqib from Pakistan for creating the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan and his work towards eradicating poverty. Saqib has worked with many international organisations over the years, such as the World Bank and the UN, and has been conferred with the Commonwealth’s 31st Point of Light Award, awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, among many other honours.

The only organisation receiving the award this year is Watchdoc from Indonesia, which has been recognized for its investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking and its use of digital technology to “transform Indonesia’s media landscape”.

The award that was established in 1958 in honour of the seventh Philippine president, is given every year to individuals in Asia who “manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader”.

All the awardees will be receiving a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize, at a formal ceremony on November 28 this year in Manila, the President of the Foundation said.

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