Four Asians have been added to the growing list of laureates conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's premiere prize and highest honor.
This year's awardees were cancer treatment revolutionary Ravi Kannan R. of India, food security advocate Eugenio Lemos of Timor-Leste, peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Philippines, and Korvi Rakshand of Bangladesh.
They received this prestigious accolade in a formal ceremony on November 11 at the Manila Metropolitan Theater.
The four new awardees bring the total number of Ramon Magsaysay Award recipients to 348.
Aurelio Luis Montinola III, Chairman of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, saluted the new laurates for celebrating the greatness of spirit through their indomitable work for humanity's progress.
"These are the transformative leaders who illuminate the darkness," he said. "They are the visionaries and pioneers who carry the torch in humanity's nature. They are the innovators who light up new paths that lead to our progress. They are the public servants, the activists, and the humanitarians who gather precious kindling and light the spark for peace and social justice."
In his acceptance message, Korvi Rakshand shared how opening digital schools allowed him and his team to make education easily accessible, even to the far-flung and underprivileged areas of Bangladesh.
"Today, those children from the slums are not only studying in universities in Bangladesh but all around the world. Despite their background, education can change the lives of thousands of children, whether in Bangladesh, the Philippines, or Asia," he said.
Meanwhile, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer highlighted the important role of women in the peace-building process, which she considers a powerful "sisterhood" that plays a huge part in building a better world.
Taking note of her role in the Philippines' Bangsamoro Peace Process, she emphasized that achieving peace through political negotiations can still produce comprehensive agreements.
"[Bangsamoro is] an example that through action and committed partnerships, a peace agreement can be sustained, and the governance and infrastructure for meaningful autonomy, a reordering of the relationship between the national state and the substrate, can be created, not only to give life to the principles of the right to self-determination but also to engender more democratic, responsive, participatory politics within and among the Bangsamoro," she explained.
Furthermore, Eugenio Lemos underlined the need to teach young people about environmental advocacy, particularly through permaculture, in order to achieve total food security.
"Young people of the world are key to achieving sustainable development and restoring the long-term viability of our environment across the globe," he said. "It is essential that all young people receive equal access to quality education and training, social justice and quality health services, protection from violence and abuse, opportunity for employment, and meaningful participation in society."
Finally, Ravi Kannan R called on everyone to hold every life on planet Earth sacred and worthy of love.
"All of us can change the way we take care of sickness and suffering, promote universal health, and control cancer and other diseases," he said.
"Let us each continue to make efforts, both big and small, to harness all the goodness around us to better the condition of everyone in need with faith that together, we can all make a difference," he also said.
Now in its 65th year, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to outstanding individuals and organizations from various Asian countries who have offered successful solutions to the world's biggest challenges of human development.
Aside from the four new laureates, this year's ceremony also honored the 2021 awardees, who only had a remote event due to pandemic restrictions.
The 2021 laureates are Roberto "Ka Dodoy" Ballon (Philippines), Watchdoc Media Mandiri (Indonesia), Steven Muncy (Southeast Asia), Firdausi Qadri (Bangladesh), and Muhammad Amjad Saqib (Pakistan). - Luke Godoy
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.