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Saturday June 14, 2008

Asian version of Nobel Peace Prize

WHILE the Nobel Peace Prize, which is administered by the Nobel Foun-dation in Stockholm, Sweden, is an international award that draws much interest, Barry Sotejo Gusi feels that Asia’s very own Gusi Peace Prize should not be taken lightly, either.

“I want Asians to support and admire the award, too, as we are the only Asian entity to honour people with such a prized award,” said Gusi, who is the current ambassador of the award, during his visit to Malaysia recently.

Gusi: Nik Aziz has been picked to receive the award.

The award was initiated in memory of his late father Geminiano Javier Gusi who was a respected human rights activist and well-known philanthropist.

This year the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation will be presenting 15 nominees out of 1,490 nominations worldwide.

For Malaysia, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has been picked to receive the award in November this year alongside Asian nominees from Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Nik Aziz was picked as we noticed his ongoing efforts in public service, political and religious advocacy through the years, hence we feel that he is a truly deserving recipient,” said 49-year-old Gusi, who conducts the final selection process of meeting the recipients.

Nik Aziz would be the second Malaysian to receive the award after fellow Kelantanese Datuk Ismail Mohammad in 2006.

“Although it is a yearly award, if the foundation feels there are no qualified entrants for the year for the particular country then no nominee would be granted the award there,” said Gusi.

According to the foundation rules, the chosen candidate also has to be present at the award ceremony in the Philippines. If he fails to do so, another candidate would be chosen for the award instead.

“In 2006, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad was initially picked as the recipient of the award but he could not make it to the presentation night, hence Ismail was chosen to replace him,” said Gusi.

Through the years, the candidate list had grown from former Philippines President Fidel Valdez Ramos to New Zealand outdoor sports guru Alan John Hackett.

Every year the foundation awards 10 to 15 nominees.

The list will be vetted by its foundation members months ahead of the presentation night. For details on the award visit www.gusipeaceprize.com.ph

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