Former Seychelles president to receive peace award


It was announced from the office of Seychelles founding President Sir James R. Mancham at Glacis-sur-Mer, Mahé, Seychelles, that Sir James has been notified that the Gusi Peace Prize Committee in Manila, Philippines, has decided to award him the Gusi Peace Prize 2011 for his “untiring effort, working for people’s amelioration, to find peaceful solution for people’s welfare and as a promoter of global forums for peace, reconciliation, and prosperity.”

In a letter dated June 18, 2011 (Seychelles National Day), Ambassador Barry Gusi, Chairman of the Board of Gusi Peace Prize International, who communicated news of the award to Sir James, wrote: “Your contributions as founding President of the Republic of Seychelles have made you a living paradigm for others to emulate, not only in Seychelles, but throughout Africa, the United States of America, Europe, Asia, and the international community. Therefore, your presence is eagerly expected on November 24, 2011, Thursday, 6:00 pm at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines, to receive the distinguished honor, dedicated and integral achievement of your contributions to Statesmanship. Your presence at the night of the event will be highly appreciated by the Gusi Peace Prize Philippine and International Committees, the Filipino people, Asia, and the whole world. Your presence in the event will enhance human dignity, friendship, and goodwill.”

Often referred to as the Nobel Peace Prize of Asia, the Gusi Peace Prize is mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 1476 – signed by former Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – declaring every fourth Wednesday of November as “The Gusi Peace Prize International Friendship Day.” That is why the Gusi Peace Prize Awarding Ceremony will take place this year on November 24, 2011.

The Gusi Peace Prize is named after the late Captain Gemeniano Javier Gusi who is considered a hero in the Philippines in the way he fought Japanese invaders during World War II after which he became a popular active advocate of human rights. Ambassador Barry Gusi actual Chairman of the Board of Gusi Peace Prize International, is the son of the late Captain. Today the Gusi Peace Prize represents one of the highest honors for distinguished individuals from the four corners of the globe. In recognizing the most brilliant examples of those working towards the attainment of peace and respect for human life and dignity, the Gusi Peace Prize aims at bringing out the best of human achievements, ideals, and values.

The awards are given out every year to individual or groups worldwide who have proven themselves to be brilliant exemplars of society, as well as contributors to peace and human rights. The foundation receives more than a 1,000 proposals each year – but the 13-member committee strictly selects only 15. This year, there were more than 1,300 proposals, and Sir James was among the 15 selected.

According to a communiqué from the organizers, the Gusi Peace Prize 2011 will be attended by ten thousand selected individuals from the diplomatic corp, local and foreign politicians, business tycoons, socialites, film celebrities, philanthropists, civic leader, educators, and other distinguished guests from the Philippines, Asia, Europe, Australia, America, China, India, and Latin America. The event will be shown live via satellite from Philippines to the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

The awardees are invited to arrive in Manila on November 22 – ready on November 23 to attend wreath-laying ceremonies at the Rizal Park where the flags and pictures of the 15 awardees will be displayed for 2 months. Later, there will be a welcome lunch at Malacanang Palace to be hosted by the President of the Philippines with a welcome dinner to follow at the Intercontinental Hotel. The highlight of the awards night will be on November 24 at the Philippines International Convention Center.

In a statement issued this morning (Sunday, June 19, 2011), Sir James said that the news of the award has deeply impacted on him. He said that it confirms the fact that there are people in the world who are appreciative of the efforts of those who are committed to continue searching for peace in a sadly divided and problematic world. Sir James, who will be 72 years old in August 2011, said that at a personal level, his sentiments are echoed by some lines he wrote in his book – “Peace of Mind” – published in 1989 in London.

“My body has been scarred
My heart has been stabbed
My mind has been shocked
But I will not give up
Because life is not a game
Nor a day of rest or pleasure
Life is a challenge to endure
From early beginning to the inevitable end
For beyond the mountain of unpleasant problems
Man of hope and goodwill
Will always discover
The loving valley of joyful expectations.”

Finally Sir James said that he was very much looking forward to visiting the Philippines in November to collect the award, for the Philippines is to him a country “rich in the spirit of the soul.”