In a proud moment for the country, two Indians have joined the list of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay award winners. To the uninitiated, this is an annual prize given to those who have displayed integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism to further the cause of democracy. In some circles, this award is also known as the Asian version of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Vatwani is being recognised for “his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitute, and his steadfast and magnanimous dedication to the work of restoring and affirming the human dignity of even the most ostracised,” the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said in its citation for the winner.
Wangchuk, 51, is being recognised for “his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, thus improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth, and his constructive engagement of all sectors in local society to harness science and culture creatively for economic progress, thus setting an example for minority peoples in the world,” it said.
Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam are other winners of the award.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation President Carmencita Abella said the winners “are clearly Asia’s heroes of hope, moving their societies forward through their unequivocal pursuit of the larger good.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.
This year’s Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize. They will be formally conferred the Magsaysay Award during formal presentation ceremonies to be held on 31 August, 2018 at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines.