07/31/2015, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Artists, donors and activists among 2015 Asia’s “Nobel Prize” winners

The winners came from India, Philippines, Laos, and Myanmar. The presentation ceremony for Ramon Magsaysay Award, will take place on August 31 in Manila. President of the Foundation says: “There is one thing this year’s Magsaysay laureates all share in common: a greatness of spirit that infuses their crusade for change.”

Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A silk weaver in Laos; a dancer who  preserves an ancient dance form of southern Philippines; an entrepreneur that recycles used clothing to donate to the poor and another activist who exposes corruption in public office in India; the founder of a company that organizes free funerals in Myanmar. These are winners of 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Award Board, which is considered as Asia's Nobel Prize. The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (Rmaf) announced that this year five individuals will be formally conferred the Award on 31 August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines of Manila. Winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize.

Kommaly Chanthavong, from Laos, for “her fearless, indomitable spirit to revive and develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, creating livelihoods for thousands of poor, war-displaced Laotians, and thus preserving the dignity of women and her nation’s priceless silken cultural treasure.”

 Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa (see picture), from the Philippines. She is being recognized for “her single-minded crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage of southern Philippines, and in creatively propagating a dance form that celebrates and deepens the sense of shared cultural identity among Asians.”

Anshu Gupta and Sanjiv Chaturvedi, both from India. The first one is being recognized 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.” The second, awarded ad Emergent Leadership, is being recognized for “his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of program and system improvements to ensure that government honorably serves the people of India.”

Kyaw Thu, from Myanmar.  He is being recognized for “his generous compassion in addressing the fundamental needs of both the living and the dead in Myanmar - regardless of their class or religion - and his channeling personal fame and privilege to mobilize many others toward serving the greater social good.”

“The Magsaysay awardees of 2015,” says Rmaf President Carmencita Abella, “are truly stoking fresh hopes for a better Asia.  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.  It is also clear that through their solutions each of these inspiring leaders is building more hopeful lives among their people -- one smart, impassioned, and persistent step at a time.”

The President concluded: “there is one thing this year’s Magsaysay laureates all share in common:  a greatness of spirit that infuses their crusade for change. All are unafraid to take on large causes. All have refused to give up, despite meager resources, daunting adversity and strong opposition. Their approaches are all deeply anchored in a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavor.”

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