Two Indians, Bharat Vatwani, and Sonam Wangchuk, are among six who have been declared winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, often referred to as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize. Bharat Vatwani is a psychiatrist who works for mentally-ill people living on the streets and Sonam Wangchuk, known for his reforms in the education sector in Ladakh, started a movement to help poor village students clear examinations.
The Magsaysay foundation recognized Vatwani’s courage and compassion in “embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitute and his dedication to the work of restoring and affirming the human dignity of even the most ostracized,”
Wangchuk’s citation said he was recognised 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”.
Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation President Carmencita Abella hailed the winners as “Asia’s heroes of hope, moving their societies forward through their unequivocal pursuit of the larger good”.
The Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the image of the late Filipino leader Ramon Magsaysay, and a cash prize. They will be conferred with the Magsaysay Award during a formal presentation ceremony at the Cultural Centre in the Philippines on August 31, 2018.