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Magsaysay Awards credit community spirit

MANILA (AsiaNews) : A silk weaver in Laos; a dancer preserving an ancient art form in the southern Philippines; an entrepreneur that recycles used clothing to donate to the poor; a rights advocate, who exposes corruption in public office in India; and the founder of a company that organises free funerals in the Union of Myanmar; are this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Recognised as the Nobel Prize of Asia, the trustees of the award announced that this year, the award will be formally conferred on August 31 at the Cultural Centre of The Philippines in Manila.

Each one will receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late president for whom the award is named, and a cash prize.

In the citations for the award, Laotian Kommaly Chanthavong is recognised for her “fearless, indomitable spirit to revive and develop the ancient art of silk weaving and creating a livelihood for thousands of poor, war-displaced people.

She is also honoured for preserving the dignity of women and her nation’s priceless silken cultural treasure.

Filipino Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa is being recognised for “her single-minded crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage of the southern Philippines and in creatively propagating a dance form that celebrates and deepens the sense of shared cultural identity among Asians.

Indian Anshu Gupta is honoured for “his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity.”

Another Indian, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, is being honoured for his Emergent Leadership, showing “exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of programme and system improvements to ensure that government honourably serves the people of India.”

Kyaw Thu, from Myanmar, has been singled out for “his generous compassion in addressing the fundamental needs of both the living and the dead… regardless of their class or religion and his channelling personal fame and privilege to mobilise many others toward serving the greater social good.”

The president of the Magsaysay Foundation, Carmencita Abella, described this year’s recipients as “truly stoking fresh hopes for a better Asia.”

Abella said, “Clearly, they are creating bold solutions to deeply-rooted social problems in their respective societies, problems which are most damaging to the lives of those trapped in poverty, ignorance, prejudice and unjust systems.” 

‘...they are
creating bold
solutions to
deeply-rooted social problems


in their respective
societies ...’