Ramon Magsaysay Award marks 65 years of honoring ‘greatness of spirit’ in Asia


The year 2023 marks the 65th anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s premier prize and highest honor. To commemorate this milestone year, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) is mounting events and programs as part of an 18-month celebration.

The Award, named after the globally respected President Ramon Magsaysay of the Philippines, was established to honor “greatness of spirit” in Asia. The first Awards were conferred in 1958 to five individuals and one organization from China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

“After 65 years of honoring greatness of spirit, we are very proud that the Ramon Magsaysay Award continues to be one of Asia’s most respected heritage brands,” RMAF chair Aurelio R. Montinola said in a statement. “We see this milestone year as both a celebration and a challenge.  As we continue our mission of celebrating the inspiring lives and transformative works of all our past and future Magsaysay laureates, we are also looking at how we can influence the various discourses on issues affecting Asia and the world.”

RMAF, with its president Susanna B. Afan, has introduced new programs aimed at helping amplify the messages of the Magsaysay laureates and replicating their successful solutions beyond their respective borders.

The foundation is now focusing on three things, Afan said: “inspiring our global audience through the lives and work of our Magsaysay Laureates; interconnecting them with the next generation of leaders in Asia; and igniting action through creative collaborations with like-hearted partners.”  

Schedule of events.

A number of events are scheduled to take place over the next 18 months.  The second cycle of the NextGen Leadership Program was launched last January.  The Magsaysay Golf Invitational will be held on April 17 in Sta. Elena Golf Club in Laguna, Philippines. A yearlong leadership workshop focusing on Asian women empowerment will be launched shortly. 

The global announcement of the 2023 awardees will be livestreamed on Aug. 31, and the 65th Ramon Magsaysay Awards will be held on Nov. 11 in Manila, Philippines.

The centerpiece of the 65th anniversary celebrations is the limited edition 7-volume book series titled “Greatness of Spirit” and featuring all the Magsaysay Laureates from 1958 to 2023.

“We at RMAF are very proud of this commemorative book series as it represents the very rich history of Asia through the lens of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and our Magsaysay laureates,” Afan said. 

She described the laureates as “the visionaries, pioneers, masters of the arts, innovators, humanitarians and peace-builders who have shaped the region over the past 65 years.”

The book series will be available in October, in time for the 65th Ramon Magsaysay Awards;

Since its inception, the Ramon Magsaysay Award has been bestowed to 344 men, women, and organizations in Asia, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Akira Kurosawa, Ela Ramesh Bhatt, Fazle Hasan Abed, Muhammad Yunus and Mechai Viravaidya. 

Watch this short video as part of RMAF’s celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s premier prize and highest honor: https://youtu.be/J6TK_kCcs8g.

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