|Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee Il-Sik Hong announced the first laureates|
The Sunhak Peace Prize was established based on the belief that it is this generation’s responsibility to create a peaceful civilization for future generations. With this vision in mind the Committee, which I chair, focused on the pressing need to combat climate change and food security in order to lay the groundwork for lasting peace. To that end, we have selected His Excellency Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, for his efforts at the forefront of the climate crisis and Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta of India, for developing an alternative solution to the expected future food crisis through innovative fish farming methods and inspiring the Blue Revolution. They are our first laureates of the Sunhak Peace Prize.
His Excellency Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, has been raising awareness of the seriousness of the effects of climate change and is leading the search for a global solution. Starting with the threat to his country’s survival, President Tong has been presenting an optimistic and constructive vision dedicated to future generations.
Kiribati is a country on the verge of being submerged under water due to the rise in the sea level. As a consequence, President Tong has drawn the attention of the international community on climate change, and played a core role in gathering support so that both the major economies and developed countries can seek for solutions to actively cope with its effects. Also, Pres. Tong designated part of his coastal Exclusive Economic Zone as a marine protected area to protect the ocean from pollution caused by human greed and intemperance. Through the “migration with dignity policy,” he is investing significant energy into defending the human rights of his citizens fated to leave their homes, which will be submerged within the next 30 years.
It is rare that a leader takes the initiative to prevent and address a global catastrophe such as climate change by making sacrifices. The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee strongly supports the efforts and appeals of Pres. Tong who stated, “In order to respond to the climate change crisis, the people of today must endure the patience and sacrifices of making moral decisions for future generations.”
Throughout his life, Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta has been addressing the expected future food crisis by developing methods of aquaculture that benefit small-scale farmers. The aquaculture methods he developed have helped achieve independence and self-sufficiency for countless people in poverty in Southeast Asia and Africa. In particular, he significantly improved the social status and rights of women.
Ignoring threats to his own life by setting up camp in war-torn conflict areas, Dr. Gupta has devoted his efforts to developing environment friendly aquaculture methods/technologies using agriculture wastes and by-products along with innovative implementation practices that benefit small-scale farmers. As a result of his efforts, aquaculture is a possible solution to the future food crisis by being able to provide low-cost, high quality animal protein. In addition, rather than offering support one-sidedly to people in poverty in Asia and Africa, Dr. Gupta taught his methods on how to raise and catch fish to them. By doing this he has paved the way for independence and self-sufficiency, particularly among Southeast Asian and African women, whom he actively taught aquaculture to, greatly improving their social status and women’s rights.
His efforts are based on his love for humanity and his spirit of respect for the lives of those suffering from poverty and hunger. The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee salutes the dedicated services of Dr. Gupta, who has addressed the food crisis facing humankind and has given the poor a sense of hope.
The Sunhak Peace Prize Committee wishes to present a ‘future peace agenda’ that will help lead the human community towards peace. For the 1st Sunhak Peace Prize, the Committee proposes ‘climate change’ and ‘food resource’ as its future peace agenda. The main challenges of the past century to world peace were the overcoming of conflicts and violence among people. However, in the 21st century, catastrophes due to climate change and the food crises are constantly occurring throughout the world. Unless these problems are solved, a world-wide disaster threatens the survival of humanity. Therefore, the Committee has focused on climate change and food security as the main challenges to world peace in the 21st century. We would like to propose the act of subjectively seeking for the wisdom that will save humanity from these crises as the future peace agenda.
Now, drastic action based on moral legitimacy and rationality is needed from the human community. It is our hope that this broad vision will help us come a step closer to a 21st century civilization of peace.
June 8, 2015
Sunhak Peace Prize Committee
Chairman, Il Sik Hong