2017 SUNHAK PEACE PRIZE FOCUSES ON THE GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS
On November 29, 2016, the recipients of the 2017 Sunhak Peace Prize were revealed at a banquet held at the International Leadership Conference (ILC) in Washington, D.C.
The program was emceed by Dr. Thomas Walsh, Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation, who shared the background of the prize and its vision to inspire “living with a sense of responsibility that envisions making this world better for future generations.”
A informational video introduced the founders, the vision, and this year’s theme of the Sunhak Peace Prize: the global refugee crisis. The video presented alarming statistics, notably that one in 113 people today are refugees, over half of whom are children.
Dr. Il-Sik Hong, Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee, announced the 2017 laureates: Italian doctor Dr. Gino Strada, and Afghan educator Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, who were chosen from a pool of 225 nominations from 76 nations.
Dr. Gino Strada has provided medical and surgical care to the victims of war and poverty, and refugees around the world. His achievements are widely known for advancing medical and surgical aid over the past 28 years.
His work and compassion for humanity has taken him beyond national borders, even into the epicenter of conflict in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa. His work has also brought healing and relief to eight million people around the world.
Dr. Strada maintains that “the right to be cured” is a basic and inalienable human right, and on that basis, in 1994 he established the international humanitarian organization known as Emergency, which has been operating more than 60 emergency medical facilities in 17 nations.
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi developed an innovative solution to the refugee settlement problem through education. She has been widely recognized for developing educational programs linked to refugee resettlement, working especially in Afghan refugee camps put under additional stress by years of war.
Dr. Yacoobi is a committed educator who has devoted herself to women’s education. She has developed an innovative vision for education in the Islamic world, based on her belief that “educating girls is educating future generations.” In order to establish a stable refugee education system, she founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in 1985, providing education and health services for more than 13 million refugees. She also operates more than 80 underground schools in hopes to improve the rights and social status of women in Islamic society, working even at the risk of her own life. Presently she is actively assisting the international community, including the United Nations, as an expert in countering refugee crises. Her achievements led her to being nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
She also operates more than 80 underground schools in hopes to improve the rights and social status of women in Islamic society, working even at the risk of her own life. Presently she is actively assisting the international community, including the United Nations, as an expert in countering refugee crises. Her achievements led her to being nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. Hong said, “Today, facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II, the citizens of the world must remember the value of each human being, which binds us together. Through solidarity and cooperation we need to solve this problem together.”
The prize includes a cash award totaling one million dollars. According to Dr. Walsh, “both recipients have indicated that they will roll their prize money directly into their organizations and their work.” The award ceremony will be held on February 3, 2017 in Seoul, Korea.
The Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation was established in 2015 to promote and develop the Sunhak Peace Prize, an annual award given to individuals or organizations that have contributed substantially to peace and human development for the sake of future generations. The Sunhak Peace Prize was founded by True Mother to recognize key movers and shakers for peace who are leaving a lasting legacy, and to honor selfless individuals who recognize family values as cornerstone of society.
The inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize was awarded to President Anote Tong of Kiribati for raising awareness about the global impact of climate change, and to Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta of India for being a leader in the development of aquaculture in developing nations.
The Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation has its administrative headquarters in New York. The Foundation appoints an independent, international, and interreligious Committee of judges who evaluate candidates who have been submitted by members of the Sunhak Peace Prize Nominators from around the world. Learn more about the Sunhak Peace Prize at sunhakprize.com/eng.