Filipino peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer was among the recipients of the 2023 Ramon Magsaysay Awards, which are considered Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
About the peacebuilder: Coronel-Ferrer, 63, was awarded on Thursday for her efforts in “harnessing the power of women” in peace advocacy. Coronel-Ferrer was the chief government negotiator during the time of President Simeon Benigno Aquino III. She helped end a long-standing insurgency in the southern Philippines with Muslim rebels, leading to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in 2014.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation noted Coronel-Ferrer’s “deep, unwavering belief in the transformative power of nonviolent strategies in peace building, her cool intelligence and courage in surmounting difficulties to convey the truth that it is through inclusion rather than division that peace can be won and sustained.”
Coronel-Ferrer, a founding member of the Southeast Asian Women Peace Mediators, is also a former senior mediation adviser at the United Nations and a professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, according to Rappler. She reportedly pursued a career in conflict resolution after campaigning against martial law imposed by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in the 1970s.
About the award: The award, which is named after the 7th Philippine president who was killed in a plane crash, is considered Asia’s highest honor. Besides Coronel-Ferrer, the foundation also awarded Bangladesh’s education advocate Korvi Rakshand, Timor-Leste’s champion of food autonomy Eugenio Lemos and India’s hero for holistic healthcare Ravi Kannan R.
According to the foundation, the awardees “are redefining inclusivity in these modern yet troubled times…. their collective message is very simple yet often forgotten: treat one another with love, care and respect.”