SERI KEMBANGAN: Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been named as this year’s winner of the Special Benevolence Award in conjunction with the 8th World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES).
The award is presented by the Cheng Ho Multi-Cultural Education Trust to outstanding individuals whose actions exemplify the virtues of benevolence.
The award is only given to leaders outside the Chinese community.
Previous winners of the award include His Royal Highness Duke of York, Prince Andrew, former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Trust founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew said Rudd, who is also Chinese literate, was recognised for his dedication to bridge Asia and the West.
As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Rudd had been the driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit (EAS) to include both the US and Russia in 2010 and initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into the wider Asia-Pacific community.
Rudd is often regarded as the first Chinese-speaking leader from the West, who is dedicated to building bridges and finding solutions by bringing the countries in Asia together, enhancing international cooperation among the US, Asian countries and the world.
Lee, who mooted the idea for the award, said the award aimed to reward the outstanding man or woman whose leadership exemplified the value of “benevolence”.
In Chinese tradition, he said benevolence was embodied in the Chinese word “rén” which combined the Hanzi meaning of man or person with “er” meaning two.
“It is a Confucian virtue to describe the ‘good’ feeling a person with high virtues gets when he is altruistic,” Lee said.
Rudd is expected to arrive in Malacca to receive the award during WCES’s Patron’s Gala Dinner on Nov 17, 2017.
This year’s WCES will be held on Nov 16 and 17 in Malacca.
The WCES will discuss the actualisation and the business potential of China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Star Media Group Bhd is one of the media partners of the WCES.
WCES chairman Tan Sri Michael Yeoh stressed that the WCES was a non-political event.
He said politics was not the agenda of WCES, but cultural and innovation were, among others, when asked on the invitation of former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou as a speaker for the event.
He added that the summit was not confined to the Chinese and it had registered participants from 30 countries.
Meanwhile, Yeoh said a total of 10 people would be presented with a lifetime achievement award from the WCES this year for their contributions in their respective fields of work.
The award winners include Mah Sing Group Bhd group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, Qi Group executive chairman Datuk Seri Vijay Eswaran, Halal Industry Development Corp CEO Datuk Jamal Bidin, GD Express Carrier Bhd managing director and group CEO Teong Teck Lean and Star Media Group editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh.