Peace champions announced in six Asian conflict countries
A former jihadist commander who turned peacebuilder in Afghanistan, and the first woman to chair a national panel that ended five decades of conflict in the Philippines are among this year’s winners of the N-Peace Awards, a prestigious prize which recognizes the leadership role of women and peace advocates from conflict-affected countries in Asia.
The United Nations Development Programme, which administers the N-Peace Awards, announced the six winners of the special categories on July 30th, 2014.
The special categories honour youth peace champions, women who break stereotypes in the media, organizations finding innovative ways to build peace, and a woman and man who each campaign and mobilize for inclusive peace. The winners include three women, two men, and one organization, all of whom have made dramatic changes towards peace in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Over 100 nominations were received across the categories from the six participating countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Nepal, and first-time participants Myanmar and Pakistan.
The winners of the four special categories were chosen by an international selection panel, themselves a celebrated group of peace advocates, for their leadership and contribution towards building peace with and for women in their respective countries.
The winners of the Untold Stories – Women Transforming their Communities category (one from each of the participating countries) were decided on by the public in an open, online vote and announced last week.
Rabiah Jamil Beg was named winner of the Breaking Stereotypes – Women and Media award. Working as a correspondent in Pakistan, Rabiah was praised by the selection panelists, one noting how she was “overcoming tremendous odds, and thereby showing enormous courage to achieve what she has done to date. No wonder she is inspiring more female journalists in the media.”
Miriam Coronel Ferrer, awarded the ‘Campaigning for Action – Women and Men Mobilizing for Peace’ prize, has helped to “put an end to the five decades of armed conflict between Moro combatants and the government,” said panelist Luz Méndez. While the male winner of the same category, Hajji Khalil, was chosen for his transformative role and work in Afghanistan.
For the first time a special category allowed organizations to be nominated in the N-Peace Awards.
Democracy and Peace Women Network Myanmar was chosen as the winners of this category, having worked innovatively to find solutions to persistent problems. “The boulder they push uphill can feel overwhelming, and their courage and creativity blow my mind,” said panelist Abigail Disney.
Wai Wai Nu, of Myanmar, has been awarded the Youth Generation – Young Women and Men Building Peace award along with Shah Zaman from Pakistan. Wai Wai Nu impressed the judges with her “exceptional courage and determination, which in turn has led to her involvement and empowerment of many within her community in Myanmar.” While Shah Zaman was praised for being a man who has worked to “empower women in a society that doesn't treat women as equal.” Panelist Rahul Sangar noted that “he is leading by example to say we are all equal.”
Since 2011, the N-Peace Awards have recognized the tireless efforts of women peace activists in Asia as well as men who work for gender equality and the inclusion of women in peace processes in their own countries. The 2014 Awardees will join the panelists and other peace advocates from the region at an awards ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, in October.
N-Peace (Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment) is a multi-country initiative managed by UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre.
Cherie Hart, Regional Communications Adviser
Tel: +66 81 918 1564