PH peace advocate among Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2023

PH peace advocate among Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2023

(UPDATE) A FILIPINO peace negotiator and University of the Philippines political science professor was among four recipients of the 2023 Ramon Magsaysay Awards.

The award, established in 1958, was named after the late Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay, and is likened to the Nobel Peace Prize in Asia.

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, 63, was recognized under the categories Reduced Inequalities; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnerships for the [Sustainable Development] Goals.

She was described as a Filipino peace negotiator who « championed inclusivity and women’s participation in nation-building. »

ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE  (From left) Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Philippines, Dr. Ravi Kannan of India, Korvi Rakshand of Bangladesh and Eugenio Lemos of Timor-Leste are the four Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2023. PHOTOS COURTESY OF  FACEBOOK, BREAST CANCER HUB AND EARTH REPAIR FOUNDATION

ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE (From left) Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Philippines, Dr. Ravi Kannan of India, Korvi Rakshand of Bangladesh and Eugenio Lemos of Timor-Leste are the four Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2023. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FACEBOOK, BREAST CANCER HUB AND EARTH REPAIR FOUNDATION

ADVOCATES FOR CHANGE (From left) Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Philippines, Dr. Ravi Kannan of India, Korvi Rakshand of Bangladesh and Eugenio Lemos of Timor-Leste are the four Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2023. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FACEBOOK, BREAST CANCER HUB AND EARTH REPAIR FOUNDATION

Ferrer « has been changing this landscape. Her impassioned engagement in political issues started in the late 1970s, when, as a student activist, she joined the resistance against martial rule, » according to her profile that was posted on the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation (RMAF) website.

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« The RMAF board of trustees recognizes her deep, unwavering belief in the transformative power of non-violent strategies in peace building, her cool intelligence and courage in surmounting difficulties to convey the truth that it is through inclusion rather than division that peace can be won and sustained, and her unstinting devotion to the agenda of harnessing the power of women in creating a just and peaceful world, » it added.

After campaigning against martial law imposed by the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. in the 1970s, Coronel-Ferrer pursued a career in conflict resolution in the Philippines and abroad.

Among her key achievements was serving as chief government negotiator in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end their decades-long insurgency in the southern Philippines, which resulted in a historic peace accord in 2014.

« Conflicts are best resolved not through the annihilation of one party, but by the mutual transformation of all players towards a common vision and shared responsibilities and accountability, » Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement.

Coronel-Ferrer is presently a senior mediation adviser at the United Nations.

Other awardees

Apart from Coronel-Ferrer, the other awardees included Korvi Rakshand of Bangladesh for quality education, Eugenio Lemos of Timor-Leste for sustainability and Dr. Ravi Kannan R. Sadya of India for health care.

Rakshand, 38, gave up a potentially lucrative career in business or law after a life-changing encounter with youngsters scavenging in a dump in Bangladesh.

He convinced six friends to teach English to disadvantaged children so they could get jobs.

That project expanded into English-language primary and secondary education in 11 traditional and online schools.

Kannan,59, an Indian oncologist, champions equitable access to health services by providing free or subsidized cancer treatments to poor patients in the northeastern state of Assam.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation commended his « devotion to his profession’s highest ideals of public service. »

Lemos, 51, also received the award for his work in water and natural resource management in Timor-Leste that has helped swathes of the country.

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