Ramon Magsaysay Award

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Ramon Magsaysay Award
Medallion with an embossed image of Ramon Magsaysayl facing right in profile.
Awarded for Outstanding contributions in Government Service, Public Service, Community Leadership, Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, Peace and International Understanding and Emergent Leadership
Country Philippines
Presented by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation
First awarded 1958
Official website http://www.rmaf.org.ph

The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay's example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is often considered to be an Asian equivalent to the Nobel Prize.[1][2] The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government.


It is named after former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation gives the prize to Asian individuals achieving excellence in their respective fields. The awards were given in six categories, five of which were discontinued in 2009:

  • Government Service (1958–2008)
  • Public Service (1958–2008)
  • Community Leadership (1958–2008)
  • Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts (1958–2008)
  • Peace and International Understanding (1958–2008)
  • Emergent Leadership (2001– )
  • Uncategorized (2009– )


In May 1957, seven prominent Filipinos were named to the founding board of trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, the non-profit corporation tasked with implementing the awards program.

The RMAF recognizes and honors individuals and organizations in Asia regardless of race, creed, sex, or nationality, who have achieved distinction in their respective fields and have helped others generously without anticipating public recognition. The awards have traditionally been given in five categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; and peace and international understanding.

During the 2000 Magsaysay Awards presentation ceremony, the Foundation announced the creation of a sixth Award category, Emergent Leadership. The Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership honors "individuals, forty years of age and below, doing outstanding work on issues of social change in their communities, but whose leadership is not yet broadly recognized outside of these communities." An award in this category was given for the first time in 2001.

The original five categories were discontinued, starting 2009, to acknowledge the increasingly intersectoral and multidimensional nature of the recipient's work. Only the category Emergent Leadership remains as such, principally because it carries an age-limit restriction.[3]



  1. ^ Clare Arthurs (2000-07-25). "Activists share 'Asian Nobel Prize'". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  2. ^ Ann Bernadette Corvera (2003-10-08). "'03 RAMON MAGSAYSAY AWARDEES: A LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY MEN & WOMEN". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  3. ^ email from Awardee Relations Unit, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation

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