(TibetanReview.net, Apr27’23) – The award, established in 1957 and first presented the following year was awarded to him in 1959. It was received on his behalf by his elder brother Gyalo Thondup. But the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF), Philippines, wanted the satisfaction of having presented it to him personally. And the foundation has just done that on Apr 26 when its members called on HH the Dalai Lama at his exile residence in Dharamshala, India, on the award’s 64th anniversary and presented it to him personally.
The foundation’s president Susanna B Afan and trustee Emily A Abrera presented the award to the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.
This was the first international award given to the Dalai Lama. It was awarded to him in Aug 1959 “for Community Leadership in recognition of his leadership of the Tibetan community’s gallant struggle in defence of the sacred religion that is the inspiration of their life and culture”. Asia’s premier prize and highest honor has logged 344 recipients thus far.
At the Dharamshala event, the Dalai Lama also signed a drawing of himself for the foundation which will soon bring out a publication upon reaching a landmark of 350 recipients.
The Foundation’s website says that with his proclamation at the age of five as the fourteenth incarnation of the patron God of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was destined to become the spiritual and temporal leader of his people.
Striving to retain his people’s right to live and worship in their own way, the Dalai Lama has brought his appeal to men of conscience everywhere. Like the late Ramon Magsaysay, he chose to stand where others have faltered in the protection of fundamental human rights, it added.
The Award was established in Apr 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government. It recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex, or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition.
Until 2008, the award was given in six categories, namely Government Service; Public Service; Community Leadership; Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts; and Peace and International Understanding; and Emergent Leadership. Five of these were discontinued in 2009.
Since 2009, the Award ceased to be given in fixed categories except for Emergent Leadership.