[Updated on July 27, 2012]
An Indonesian environmental activist who has faced death threats while
fighting illegal loggers is among this year’s winners of the Ramon
Magsaysay Award, known as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Ruwindrijarto, who pioneered reporting on illegal logging in
Indonesia’s national parks, is being honored by the Manila-based
foundation for “his sustained advocacy for community-based natural
resource management in Indonesia, leading bold campaigns to stop illegal
forest exploitation, as well as fresh social enterprise initiatives
that engage the forest communities as their full partners.”
1997, Ruwi, as he is known, co-founded Telapak, an organization that is
aimed at raising awareness about deforestation and later acted as a
think-tank for communities on more sustainable resource management and
The awards also honored Filipino Romulo
Davide, who helped farmers fight pest infestation on rice, bananas and
other crops; Indian Kulandei Francis, head of a village self-help group;
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, an environmental lawyer from Bangladesh; Cambodian
agronomist Yang Saing Koma who helps farmers improve rice production;
and a Taiwanese vegetable vendor, who has personally given away more
than NT$7 million ($233,000) to several charities for children.
The winners will each receive a prize of $50,000 in an August ceremony.
Magsaysay awardees of 2012 are six remarkable individuals, all deeply
involved in creating sustainable solutions to poverty and its
accompanying disempowerment — whether in the forests or on farmlands, in
exploitative industries or in inadequate education,” foundation
president Carmencita Abella said in a statement.
are clearly quite diverse… But there is one thing these Magsaysay
laureates share — a greatness of spirit which infuses their distinct
leadership for change.”