Indian citizens Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk are regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. They are winners of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award. These two are among the six people who were declared as the winners today.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said in its citation for the winner quoted, “Mr Vatwani is recognized 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 ostracized.”
“Mr Sonam Wangchuk aged 51, is being recognized 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.”
Other winners of the award include Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam.
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.”
She further added, "In genuine solidarity with the disadvantaged and marginalised, each one has addressed real and complex issues with bold, and creative, and pragmatic action that has engaged others to do likewise. The results of their leadership are manifest in the changed lives of the many they have influenced."
“All are unafraid to take on large causes. All have refused to give up, despite meagre resources, daunting adversity and strong opposition. Their approaches are all deeply anchored on a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavour."
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honour which was established in the year 1957.
The year 2018's Magsaysay Award winners will each get a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a money prize. They will be formally given the Magsaysay Award amid formal presentation ceremonies which will be held on August 31, 2018, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.