KARACHI: The Citizens Foundation (TCF) organisation has been honoured with the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
“We have always been deliberately low-key as you may know that not everybody knows about even the founders,” said its CEO Asaad Ahmed. The announcement came as a surprise but they will not let it get into their heads as there is still a long way to go for educating Pakistan.
The award is also known as Asia’s premier prize and Pakistan has not received any since 1999. Philanthropy veterans like Abdul Sattar Edhi and Adeeb Rizvi have also received this award in the past but this is the only time an organisation has been conferred this award.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) announced about its recipients on July 31 through a press release calling the awardees, ‘Asia’s beacon of progress’. The release about TCF said, “The social vision and high-level professionalism of its founders and those who run its schools, in successfully pursuing their conviction that, with sustained civic responsiveness, quality education made available to all-irrespective of religion, gender, or economic status-is the key to Pakistan’s brighter future.”
The other five 2014 recipients include Hu Shuli, an influential journalist and Wang Canfa, an environmental lawyer from China, Saur Marlina Manurung, an advocate for Indonesia’s forest people, Omara Khan Masoudi, a museum director in Afghanistan and Randy Halasan, a teacher working in a remote region of the Philippines.
“The Magsaysay awardees of 2014 are truly beacons of progress in Asia,” said RMAF president Carmencita Abella in the statement. “All the recipients are from diverse areas – education for the poor and marginalised, environmental justice for pollution victims, increased transparency and accountability in corporate and public governance, and the restoration of cultural pride,” he said.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award has widely been described as Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. TCF alongside this year’s other Magsaysay award winners will be formally conferred the award during formal presentation ceremonies to be held on August 31 at the cultural centre of Manila, the Philippines. The winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late president, and a cash prize.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th,2014.