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Philippine Doctor Wins WHO Sasakawa Health Prize [2007/06/27]

Dr.Socrates receiving award

The 2007 Award Presentation Ceremony for the World Health Organization (WHO) Sasakawa Health Prize, established to promote progress toward the goals of the WHO’s Health for All initiative, was held at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 17th. Yohei Sasakawa of the Nippon Foundation presented USD 30,000 in prize money and a commemorative statuette to this year’s winner, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jose Antonio Socrates of the Philippines. Dr. Socrates has said he will use the prize money to open a job-training workshop for people with disabilities. The Sasakawa Health Prize recognizes individuals and organizations that provide sustainable grassroots healthcare activities in communities around the world. No individual or organization from Japan has yet won the prize.

Established in 1984, the WHO Sasakawa Health Prize recognizes individuals and organizations making contributions to the health and primary healthcare of people around the world. From 1985 through 2007, prizewinners have included 19 groups and 29 individuals.

This year’s winner, Dr. Jose Antonio Socrates of the Philippines, is 58 years old. Dr. Socrates has established two nongovernmental organizations at a medical center on the island province of Palawan, known as the Philippines’ last frontier. These NGOs provide primary health care services in sparsely populated regions. They also deliver vitamins, sanitary supplies, and potable water to local residents and provide them with health management services. In addition to these activities, Dr. Socrates has contributed to the development of community public-health programs in the Philippines, by serving as Palawan’s Provincial Health Officer.

After praising Dr. Socrates’ efforts, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, had this to say at the Award Presentation Ceremony: “Let’s focus once again on the importance of primary health care, and how we can help people everywhere maintain or improve their health while they strive for their dreams.”
Posted by TNF at 09:54 | Basic Human Needs | URL
The Nippon Foundation Opens 100th Elementary School in Myanmar [2007/06/20]

In front of the 100th Elementary School in Myanmar

In support of children living in remote regions of Myanmar, who lack adequate access to educational opportunities, the Nippon Foundation has for five years been building new elementary schools in the country. The 100th school – On Ma Ti Elementary School – was recently completed in Shan state, in the north of Myanmar. An opening ceremony was held for the school on the 23rd of this month, with Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, in attendance.

Well-known as a multiethnic nation, the remote regions of the nation are home to a large number of ethnic minorities. With limited arable land, these areas have low income levels and few schools. Many school-age children have no access to education. The Nippon Foundation, which has provided support for building schools in developing countries around the world, responded to this problem in 2002, by providing financial support for school construction through Saetanar, a local nonprofit organization.

At the opening of the 100th school, Chairman Sasakawa underscored the importance of village cooperation in children’s education. “This school was completed thanks to the efforts of local people--particularly the efforts of the parents, whose goal is to provide their children with an education. This project will serve as a model for school construction around the world.” Children will begin to attend the school this June, at the start of the Myanmar school year.
Posted by TNF at 09:31 | Human Resources Development | URL
Developing Human Resources for Peace Building: Manila [2007/06/13]

Scholarship Presentation Ceremony at Ateneo de Manila

On April 10, a branch campus of the Costa Rica-basedUniversity for Peace was opened at Ateneo de Manila University in Manila, the Philippines, at a ceremony held for the first 30 students. To develop personnel capable of promoting peace, primarily in Asian nations, the students will work on peace-promotion programs and conflict prevention efforts for 19 months before earning master’s degrees in international peace studies. Graduates are expected to work in various UN organizations and NGOs.

Following a UN resolution adopted in 1980, the University for Peace was inaugurated the following year in Costa Rica, where efforts to promote peace have included disbanding the army. To date, the University has established short-term training centers and offices in Toronto, Canada and Geneva, Switzerland, but the Manila branch is the first full branch campus. Of some 130 applicants, those admitted were selected based on written applications and telephone interviews. All students are beneficiaries of scholarships and stipends from the Nippon Foundation.

The initial class is comprised of 13 men and 17 women, most of whom are in their 20s and 30s. The oldest student, Yon Hon-suk from Korea, is 68 years old. Half of the students are Japanese, five of whom have experience working as Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers dispatched by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The oldest Japanese student is Kazuhide Sainowaki (64), a former director of a publishing house. The other 15 students represent ten Asian countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines.


The University for Peace is the only UN-affiliated graduate university. The newly-established master’s program at the Manila branch consists of five months of English language training in Manila, a six-month basic course at the main campus in Costa Rica, four months of general education course work and a four-month internship. The program is designed to equip graduates with the skills needed to work for international organizations and NGOs, and to lead peace-building initiatives in the future. At the moment, individuals with these qualifications are especially rare in Asia.

The Nippon Foundation supported the establishment of the original University in 1981, but experience has shown that most students came from the U.S. or European countries. With religious, racial, and regional tensions, as well as maritime terrorist attacks, on the rise in Asia, an Asian branch was proposed. Following discussions among the relevant parties, the decision was made to open one at Ateneo de Manila University, which has a long-standing relationship with the Nippon Foundation through various scholarship programs and is highly regarded for its English language courses.

While post-degree career opportunities remain up to the students, Mr. Sasakawa expressed the following hope: “With more people wanting to pursue careers in
peace issues, with more people who have knowledge and experience to share with others, and with more institutions to house and train these individuals, I firmly believe that the region will be equipped with a significant pool of peace-building professionals in the near future.”
Posted by TNF at 09:09 | Human Resources Development | URL
Safety in the Malacca-Singapore Straits: A Symposium [2007/06/05]
A symposium on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore has held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 13. The symposium called for a cost-sharing scheme to fund efforts to ensure navigational safety in the Straits, the world’s busiest maritime route, traveled by 93,755 vessels each year.

The Malacca/Singapore Straits Symposium

The expansion of Asian, and especially Chinese, trade has driven a steady increase in traffic in the Straits. By 2020, 140,000 vessels are expected to use this particular route annually, an increase of some 50% from current levels. This high level of traffic will increase the risk of collisions and groundings and may result, through oil spills and exhaust gas, in significant maritime pollution. These indicators point to an urgent need for increased navigational safety measures in the Straits, including an increase of beacons and the removal of sunken vessels.

At the symposium, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, which has advanced the cause of safety in the straits over the past 40 years, said: “…companies which use the straits, and which are the principal beneficiaries, should be required to fulfill their corporate social responsibility by tackling problems of safety and conservation…. The Nippon Foundation will endeavor to establish international frameworks to distribute the costs required, and set up an appropriate environment based on understanding that these straits are the forerunner of reform toward the development of a new maritime community in the Twenty-first Century.”

Mr. Sasakawa also proposed establishing a new foundation based on contributions from various governments and private enterprises, to cover the cost of ensuring safety in the Straits.
Posted by TNF at 16:25 | Sea & Ship | URL