The Daily Star – Rizwana Hasan gets Magsaysay Award

25 July 2012 - Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), has bagged Magsaysay Award for her uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in the country.

The Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) on Wednesday announced six winner’s name, who will also receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year.

The five others are from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Syeda Rizwana Hasan from Bangladesh is being recognised for “her uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people’s right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life,” according to the foundation website.

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honour and is 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 every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

“The Magsaysay awardees of 2012,” says RMAF President Carmencita Abella, “are six remarkable individuals, all deeply involved in creating sustainable solutions to poverty and its accompanying disempowerment – whether in the forests or on farmlands, in exploitative industries or in inadequate education. Working selflessly in unpretentious yet powerful ways, they are showing how commitment, competence, and collaborative leadership can truly transform millions of individual lives and galvanise progressive community action.”

“Their concerns are clearly quite diverse – agricultural productivity, environmental justice, farmer education, women economic empowerment, good education for the young. But there is one thing these Magsaysay laureates share: a greatness of spirit which infuses their distinct leadership for change.

Working with others, they all single-mindedly apply their skills to their passion for improving the lives of others. They all refuse to give up, despite adversity and opposition. They are all deeply rooted in hope.”

The six 2012 Magsaysay awardees join 290 other laureates who have received Asia’s highest honour 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 Presentation Ceremonies to be held on 31 August 2012 at the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC), to which the public is cordially invited, the RMAF said.