Indians Nileema Mishra, Harish Hande win Magsaysay Award (Lead)

July 27th, 2011 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

University of Massachusetts Manila, July 27 (IANS) Two Indians, Neelima Mishra and Harish Hande, are among the five individuals and one organisation cited for the Magsaysay Award, it was announced here Wednesday.

Nileema Mishra, 39, was recognized for “her purpose-driven zeal to work tirelessly with villagers in Maharashtra, organizing them to successfully address both their aspirations and their adversities through collective action and heightened confidence in their potential to improve their own lives”.

Harish Hande, 44, was recognised for “his passionate and pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through a social enterprise that brings customized, affordable, and sustainable electricity to India’s vast rural populace, encouraging the poor to become asset creators”.

The awards, considered the Asian version of the Nobel Prize, were announced by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.

Mishra has a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pune.

She is the founder of the Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan in the village of Bahadarpur in Maharashtra.

Hande has a PhD in energy engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He previously studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.

He works as the managing director and was the co-founder of the SELCO Solar Light Private Ltd. in Bangalore.

The other awardees are Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) from the Philippines, Hasanain Juaini from Indonesia, Koul Panha from Cambodia and Tri Mumpuni from Indonesia.

Established in 1957, the Magsaysay Award celebrates the memory and leadership of the third Philippine president, and is given every year to individuals or organisations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service of the late Filipino leader.

Foundation president Carmencita T. Abella said the awardees of 2011 were “five remarkable individuals and an exceptional organization”, all deeply involved in harnessing technologies that can “genuinely empower their countrymen and create waves of progressive change” in Asia.

“Working on critical issues that impact not only their respective countries, but indeed, all of Asia, they are showing how commitment, competence, and collaborative leadership can truly transform individual lives and galvanize community action,” Abella said in a statement.

The one thing the Magsaysay awardees share are a “greatness of spirit which infuses their leadership for change. They all build collaboration and seek consensus wherever possible. They all refuse to give up, despite adversity and opposition”.

The six awardees will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late president, and a cash prize.

They will be formally conferred the award during a ceremony to be held Aug 31 in Manila.

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