NEW DELHI: Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk will be honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year. Along with the two Indians, Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam also got the award. The six Magsaysay awardees will each receive a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize. They will be formally given the award on a formal ceremony on 31 August at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Recognising their efforts, the foundation said that Bharat is being awarded for his work for the mentally-afflicted people in India. "He is being 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 in our midst," the foundation said.
Sonam Wangchuk, the man on whom Aamir Khan's character in the movie 3 Idiots was based, has also been recognised for his community-driven reform of learning systems. "He 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," the foundation said.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honor which celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named. It is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest selfless service.
"The Magsaysay awardees of 2018 are clearly Asia’s heroes of hope, moving their societies forward through their unequivocal pursuit of the larger good. In genuine solidarity with the disadvantaged and marginalized, 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," RMAF President Carmencita Abella said.
She adds, "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 on a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavor. We draw much hope from the 2018 Magsaysay awardees, and much to celebrate about their accomplishments and greatness of spirit."