TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a ceremony held by the Government of India at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the president’s official home, on February 26, 2019 (local time), Indian President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Gandhi Peace Prize to The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also presented Mr. Sasakawa with a handicraft item and a check for 10 million rupees (approximately 15 million yen, or US$140,000) that accompany the prize. Mr. Sasakawa is the first Japanese national to receive the award.
Presenting the award, President Kovind recognized Mr. Sasakawa’s work, commenting, “He has been instrumental in helping us win crucial battles in the war against leprosy – to prevent and eradicate the disease, and to end stigma and discrimination,” and adding “On behalf of India, I must appreciate the services of Mr Sasakawa and his Foundation.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Sasakawa expressed his thanks for the prestigious award, noting, “I do not receive it alone. I receive it together with all who have worked with me over the years. This award will certainly give us renewed encouragement from Mahatma Gandhi.” He also called for continued cooperation going forward, adding “Together, we can realize a world where no one needs to suffer from leprosy nor its associated stigma and discrimination.” He also commented that he intends to donate the monetary award to leprosy elimination efforts.
About the Gandhi Peace Prize
The Gandhi Peace Prize was established in 1995 by the Government of India to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Past non-Indian recipients include Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.
The Indian government awarded the prize to Mr. Sasakawa in recognition of his activities including his work toward the global elimination of leprosy as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination.
About the Gandhi Peace Prize (Ministry of Culture, Government of India website)
Past Gandhi Peace Prize recipients (1995–2014; Ministry of Culture, Government of India website)
Ministry of Culture press release announcing the Gandhi Peace Prize
recipients for 2015–2018
About Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation