• Afghan Woman Governor wins "Asian Nobel Prize"

Afghan Woman Governor wins "Asian Nobel Prize"

25 July 2013

Afghanistan’s first female governor, Habiba Sarabi, is one of five recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Its organisers say that the annual award, named after a former Philippine President, is widely regarded as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.  It is awarded to individuals who have a “sense of selfless service”.

The Ramon Magsaysay Foundation said Ms Sarabi, who has been governor of Bamiyan province since 2005, was recognised for “her bold exercise of leadership to build up a functioning provincial government against great odds—intractable political adversities, a harsh and impoverished environment, and pervasive cultural discrimination”.

A former Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs,  she has also received much praise for her work on girls’ education.  She is proud of the fact that her province has the highest number of girls in school - 45 per cent of the 125,000 pupils there are female.  

Her environmental work has also brought her international acclaim.  In 2008, she was named in Time magazine’s list of “Heroes of the Environment”, partly for her work in establishing Afghanistan’s first national park.

This year’s Magsaysay Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late Philippine President, and a cash prize.

Image:  US Army/ Wikimedia/Commons