Two Indians are among the recepients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year. Psychiatrist Bharat Vatwani will receive the award for leading the rescue of thousands of street persons with mental disabilities, to treat them and reunite them with their families. Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer from Ladakh, will be receive it for “his contribution in harnessing nature, culture and education for community progress”, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said.
The Magsaysay Award, established in 1957, seeks to reward individuals for integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism in democratic societies.
Youk Chang of Cambodia, a genocide survivor, will be given the award for “preserving historical memory for healing and justice” by documenting the Khmer Rouge atrocities in the mid-1970s.
Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz of East Timor will receive it for “her pure humanitarianism in uplifting Timor Leste’s poor, her courageous pursuit of social justice and peace, and her nurturing the development of autonomous, self-reliant, caring citizens.”
Vo Thi Hoang Yen of Vietnam will be take home the award for her “creative, charismatic leadership in the sustained campaign to break down physical and mental barriers that have marginalised Persons With Disability in Vietnam”.
Former Philippines government official Howard Dee will also receive the award. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said he was elected for his “heroic half-century of service to the Filipino people, his dedication to the pursuit of social justice and peace in achieving dignity for the poor”.
The awards will be presented in Manila, the capital of Philippines, on August 31.