PH EMBASSY HAILS FORMER CAMBODIAN REFUGEE IN THE PHILIPPINES
AS RAMON MAGSAYSAY AWARDEE FOR 2018
The Philippine Embassy in Cambodia hailed the naming of Dr. Youk Chhang, a former Cambodian refugee in the Philippines, as one of the six (6) recipients of this year’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Dr. Chhang, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, joins five other laureates from the Philippines, India, Timor Leste, and Vietnam, who will receive their awards in formal ceremonies on 31 August 2018, the birth anniversary of the late President Ramon Magsaysay.
Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia Christopher B. Montero conveyed his warm congratulations to Mr. Chhang citing that “this exalted distinction is a fitting testament to the remarkable work you have done to preserve the memory of those who suffered from the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge. Your commitment to healing and justice will not only benefit the present and future generations of Cambodians, but is also a legacy of great value to the international community.”
A leading figure in Cambodian society’s efforts to come to terms with its genocidal past, Dr. Chhang was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the World in 2007. Today, he is engaged in building the Sleuk Rith Institute, which will house a museum, archives and library; a research center; and a graduate program on crimes against humanity to sustain what DC-Cam has accomplished.
Dr. Chhang was among the thousands of Cambodian refugees who stayed at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center in Morong, Bataan in the 1980s. As his way of giving back to the Philippines during its time of need, he rallied Cambodian-Americans in raising funds to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in 2013.
“I hope the Filipinos are also proud of me as a friend — ‘my friend’ as they all called me when I lived in the camp at Bataan,” wrote Mr. Chhang in an email to the Philippine Embassy.
On its 60th year of "honoring the greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in selfless service to the peoples of Asia," the Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to recognize individuals and organizations who address various issues of human development with “extraordinary vigor, integrity and selflessness.” It is widely considered the Asian version of the Nobel Peace Prize. END
Ambassador Montero (right), accompanied by Embassy personnel, meets with Dr. Youk Chhang (left) at the latter's office in the Documentation Center of Cambodia
Dr. Youk Chhang (3rd from right, first row) pose with Ambassador Montero (4th from left), together with the scholars and alumni of Philippine higher education
institutionsat the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh