WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2015 – Indian fisheries scientist Dr. M. Vijay Gupta and President Anote Tong of the South Pacific island nation of Kiribati have been selected to receive the inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize, a prestigious award given annually to individuals and/or organizations that contribute to global peace through their commitment to environmental sustainability and innovative solutions to conflict-causing crises.
The two awardees will be honored at a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, on August 28, 2015. Each will receive the Sunhak Peace Prize medal, certificate and a cash prize of $500,000.
The Sunhak Peace Prize encourages the following:
● Peace and human development
● Conflict resolution
● Ecological conservation
The 2015 Prize celebrates and seeks to promote the link between sustainable development practices and global peace and justice. In the 20th century, peace was threatened by world wars and regional conflicts. The threats to peace and human security in this century prominently include not only territorial disputes and the rise of extremism, but also climate change and its impact on food security and clean water for the world’s most vulnerable citizens. The Prize emphasizes the critical role of interfaith and international cooperation based on respect for human rights as an essential foundation for peace.
Dr. Gupta is a renowned researcher from India who spent his career creating innovative ways to feed the rural poor by developing and disseminating techniques for low-cost fish farming. For his achievements, Dr. Gupta won the 2005 World Food Prize. He served as the assistant director general at WorldFish, an international fisheries institute located in Malaysia.
President Tong’s Kiribati is a collection of 34 atolls and islands 2,500 miles south of Hawaii. Half of Kiribati’s 103,000 citizens live on Tarawa Atoll, which has an average elevation of less than seven feet above sea level. Studies show that the ocean is rising around Kiribati at the rate of three millimeters a year, more than twice the global average. President Tong has drawn international attention and respect for his tireless warnings about the danger of rising seas that results from climate change. His nation could be uninhabitable by the 2050s.
“We are honored to announce that the first Sunhak Peace Prize will be presented to these two deserving individuals,” said Il-Sik Hong, former president of Korea University and chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee. “Dr. Gupta and President Tong are worthy Laureates because they have made the world a better and more peaceful place. Hunger, poverty and climate change lead to global conflict and human suffering, and both men have devoted their lives to furthering peace by finding sustainable solutions to these pressing problems.”
Dr. Gupta is an Indian fisheries scientist known as an architect of the “Blue Revolution” – or the productive use of ocean resources – and has been a leader in teaching the rural poor how to fish sustainably. His aquaculture methods have dramatically reduced hunger in Southeast Asia and have empowered rural women with low social status.
President Tong, in an effort to preserve his nation and its threatened way of life, has designated 408,250 square kilometers of his country’s waters as a “marine protected area.” To prevent his people from becoming climate change refugees, he has instituted vocational training for a “mass migration with dignity” plan. Nurses and technicians have begun to resettle in Australia and New Zealand. President Tong bought 2,000 hectares of land in Fiji last year and is considering relocating his population.
For more information go to http://sunhakprize.com/eng/