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2005 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees Announced

The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation today announced that this year six individuals from Thailand, India, Indonesia, Laos, Bangladesh and South Korea will receive Asia’s most prestigious prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

The Awardees are:

Mr. Jon Ungphakorn, from Thailand, a member of the Thai Senate, for Government Service. Senator Ungphakorn is being recognized for "his impassioned insistence as a senator that Thailand respect the rights and attend humanely to the needs of its least advantaged citizens.”

Mr. Teten Masduki, from Indonesia, head of Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), for Public Service. Mr. Masduki is receiving the Award for “his challenging Indonesians to expose corruption and claim their right to clean government.”

Dr. V. Shanta, from India, a long-time advocate of cancer research, prevention and care, also for Public Service. Dr. Shanta is being honored for “her untiring leadership of the Cancer Institute (WIA) as a center of excellence and compassion for the study and treatment of cancer in India.”

Mr. Sombath Somphone, from Laos, founder and executive director of the Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC), for Community Leadership. Mr Somphone is being recognized for “his hopeful efforts to promote sustainable development in Laos by training and motivating its young people to become a generation of leaders.”

Mr. Matiur Rahman, from Bangladesh, founder and editor of Prothom Alo, for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts. Mr. Rahman is being cited for “his wielding the power of the press to crusade against acid throwing and to stir Bangladeshis to help its many victims.”

Ms. Hye-Ran Yoon, from Korea, founder of Citizens Opening the World for Welfare (COWW), for Emergent Leadership. Ms. Yoon is receiving the award for “her catalytic role in enabling Cheonan’s civil society to exercise its social responsibilities dynamically and democratically.”

There is no awardee this year in the Peace and International Understanding category.

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honor and widely 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 yearly 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.

"This year’s awardees," says Foundation President Carmencita T. Abella, personify this tradition of “greatness of spirit in service to the people.” Through their pioneering initiatives, selfless leadership, and passionate concern to advance the common good, they are building better societies in Asia and inspiring many others to do likewise. The Foundation is privileged to bring this good news from Asia to the world.”

The Award is given in six categories:

Government Service – for "outstanding service in the public interest in any branch of government, including executive, judicial, legislative or military."

Public Service – for "outstanding service to the public good by a private citizen."

Community Leadership – for "leadership of a community toward helping the disadvantaged have fuller opportunities and a better life."

Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts – for "effective writing, publishing, or photography, or use of radio, television, cinema or theater as a power for public good."

Peace and International Understanding – for "outstanding contributions to the advancement of friendship, peace and solidarity as the foundations for sustainable development within and across countries."

Emergent Leadership – (established in 2000) for "outstanding work of an individual, forty years of age or younger, on issues of social change in his or her community, but whose leadership is not yet broadly recognized outside of the community."

The six 2005 Magsaysay awardees join 243 other laureates who have received Asia’s highest honor to date. This year’s Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize. They will be formally conferred the Magsaysay Award during the Presentation Ceremonies to be held on August 31, 2005 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, to which the public is cordially invited.

This year’s Magsaysay awardees will also speak in a series of public lectures to be held at the Ramon Magsaysay Center from August 29 to September 2, 2005.

For more information on the awardees and the Foundation, please visit our website

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