ASIANET: Dr. Kang Won Yong receives the 17th Niwano Peace Prize
Tokyo, May 12, Kyodo JBN-AsiaNet/--The Niwano Peace Foundation (Nichiko Niwano, president, and Motoyuki Naganuma, chairman) Friday awarded the seventeenth Niwano Peace Prize to the South Korean Christian leader Reverend Dr. Kang Won Yong, 82. The presentation ceremony was held in Tokyo. In addition to the award certificate, Dr. Kang received a gold medal and a list of 20 million yen as subsidiary prizes.
Dr. Kang delivered a commemorative address following the ceremony, stressing, "I would like to make a special request to the religious leaders of Japan and China for their help, so that through peaceful reunification, the Cold War may cease to exist on the Korean peninsula."
Dr. Kang is not only one of South Korea's most distinguished religious leaders, but has also been at the forefront of activities to promote international interfaith dialogue. In 1962, he established the Korea Christian Academy and became its director. Through the Academy's interfaith dialogue committee he has sponsored more than 100 meetings for dialogue among South Korea's six leading religions.
Equally important to Dr. Kang has been his deep concern for social justice in South Korea. In the 1970s when the country was ruled by a military regime, he led movements for human rights and democracy and was a representative member of the National Conference for the Recovery of Democracy. He promoted several hundred dialogues with the military leaders for a return to democratic processes and rallied support throughout South Korea for social justice, human rights, and environmental protection.
Dr. Kang's activities extended even further, to encompass efforts for the unification of North and South Korea, reconciliation in labor disputes, freedom of speech, and educational programs for women and laborers. His arrest in 1979 by the KCIA for allegedly subversive activities only served to highlight his considerable influence on his fellow South Korean citizens. The Niwano Peace Foundation, which was chartered in 1978, established the Niwano Peace Prize to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to world peace and the enhancement of culture. The recipient of the award is decided after careful deliberation by a screening committee of seven members representing the Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic faiths who choose from nominations offered by 1,000 recognized authorities in 125 different countries.
Contact: Hiromichi Mizumoto/Niwano Peace Foundation Phone:03-3226-4371 Fax:03-3226-1835 E-mail AEA04264@nifty.ne.jp