Asian Nobel Prize cancelled
A Philippine peace award has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, marking only the third disruption in six decades for the annual prize regarded as an Asian Nobel. The Manila-based foundation that hands out the Ramon Magsaysay awards said 9 June 2020 it has no choice with the COVID-19 pandemic practically immobilizing the world.
- The awards were also cancelled due to a financial crisis in 1970 and a disastrous earthquake in 1990. They are named after a popular Philippine president who died in a 1957 plane crash and honor greatness of spirit in selfless service to the peoples of Asia.
- The more than 330 awardees so far had included leaders like late Philippine President Corazon Aquino and Mother Teresa, known for her missionary work in India.
- The five recipients of last year's awards included a South Korean who helped fight suicide and bullying; a Thai woman who became a human rights defender after losing her husband to violence in southern Thailand; journalists from India and Myanmar; and a musician credited with helping to shape modern Philippine musical culture.
- The Philippines is a coronavirus hotspot in Southeast Asia, with about 22,400 infections, including more than 1,000 deaths.
- It has eased lockdowns for millions of people in a tightrope move to bolster its economy, which contracted in the first quarter.
- Indian journalist Ravish Kumar in August 2019 was awarded the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize.
- He is among five individuals who were declared winners of the award, which is Asia's premier prize and highest honour and celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.
- The four other winners of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award are Ko Swe Win from Myanmar, Angkhana Neelapaijit from Thailand, Raymundo Pujante Cayabyab from Philippines and Kim Jong-Ki from South Korea.
- Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honour.
- It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.