The Ramon Magsaysay Awards were established in 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as a kind of Asian Nobel Prize. Conceived by John D. Rockefeller III, the program was created to 1950s to honor individuals and organizations in Asia whose civic contributions and leadership "exemplify the greatness of spirit, integrity, and devotion to freedom of Ramon Magsaysay," the former president of the Philippines who had just died in an airplane crash. In 1987 the Program for Asia Projects was established; Magsaysay award winners can apply to to the program for funding for projects in Asia which embody the spirit of the awards.

Ramon Magsaysay Awards are given each year in six different categories: community leadership; emergent leadership; government service; journalism, literature, and creative communications arts; peace and international understanding; and public service. The recipients receive a certificate, a medallion with a likeness of Magsaysay, and a cash prize of about $50,000. The awards are much coveted in Asia, and to be chosen to receive one is considered a great and very prestigious honour.

In 2002 the community leadership award went to Dr. Cynthia Maung of Myanmar who founded a clinic to treat refugees at the Myanmar-Thai border and has worked giving medical aid there for many years. Ghandian Sandeep Pandey of India won the emergent leadership award for building a grassroots network of learning centres for poor children in India. Also recognized was Philippine supreme court judge, Hilario Davide, who was awarded the government service prize for his contribution to democracy and the rule of law; he presided over the impeachment process of former president Joseph Estrada. Bharat Dutta Koirala received the journalism award in recognition of his work towards improving standards for journalism in Nepal, including founding the Nepal Press Institute. The peace award went to the South Korean Buddhist monk Sukho Choi, who works for reunification of the Koreas and to combat hunger in North Korea. The German-born Roman Catholic nun Dr. Ruth Pfau received the public service award in recognition for her work to improve the treatment of lepers in Pakistan; she has headed the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center for many years.

I find it a bit sad that none of these people are noded as yet.

Past recipients are listed on the Awards program's official website,

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