Citizens Foundation wins Asia’s Nobel Prize

Published in The News

Karachi The Citizens Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, which educates the underprivileged through its schools in Pakistan, has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. The award is often considered Asia’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize. It was established in 1957 to propagate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in government, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The five other 2014 recipients include an influential journalist and an environmental lawyer from China, an advocate for Indonesia’s forest people, a museum director in Afghanistan and a teacher working in a remote region of the Philippines. In an announcement issued on Thursday, the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said The Citizens Foundation (TCF) was being recognised for “the social vision and high-level professionalism of its founders and those who run its schools, in successfully pursuing their conviction that with sustained civic responsiveness, quality education made available to all, irrespective of religion, gender, or economic status-is the key to Pakistan’s brighter future”. TCF’s citation for the award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Manila on August 31, reads: “Pakistan, says the UNESCO, has the world’s second highest number of children who are out of school –around five and a half million, some 66 percent of them girls. It can also be a dangerous place for education, being one of those countries seriously challenged by religious extremism. The shooting of the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria just this year has appalled the world. But as shocking as these events are, the problem is even broader than the cases may suggest, since the denial of education is caused as well by widespread poverty and the stark deficit in government spending on education.” The foundation’s student Anum Fatima made history by getting accepted for a programme at the Harvard University recently. Many of its alumni are now studying in leading national universities like the Institute of Business Administration and the DOW University of Health Sciences.

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