Padaca leads Magsaysay awardees

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation yesterday bared the recipients of the Asia’s premier prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award. The Awardees are:

Grace Padaca, from the Philippines, for Government Service. Padaca was recognized for “empowering voters in Isabela province to reclaim their democratic right to elect leaders of their own choosing, and to contribute as full partners in their own development.”

Center for Agriculture & Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), from the Philippines, for Public Service. They are 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, for Public Service. Jivacate was 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. The two are recognized for “enhancing the capacity of the Madia Gonds 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. Maarif got the award 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 Galapatti, 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.”

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

“The Magsaysay awardees of 2008,” says RMAF President Carmencita T. Abella, “are indeed pathfinders in a changing Asia, charting new ways to address persistent, often intractable problems in their societies. 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. They share as well an indomitable will and persistence to tap into this potential and thus create greater, and lasting, good.

Mobilizing many others to join their efforts, their accomplishments 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. “