Award Ceremony 2001

The Fukuoka Prize 2001 Award ceremony

September 13, 2001 (14:00 - 16:00)
ACROS Fukuoka Symphony Hall

The prize Presentation Ceremony for the 12th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes 2001 began in a solemn atmosphere with a musical performance by the Fukuoka Salon Orchestra. Approximately 1,100 people, including representatives from the embassies of the laureates' countries, exchange students in Fukuoka, guests from international exchange organizations, members of business circles, universities, and local organizations as well as the citizens of Fukuoka, attended the ceremony.

Folowing a brief description of the history of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes, the laureates' profiles and examples of their academic or artistic achievements were introduced on a video screen. Greetings from the organizing representative, speeches by the guests and the summary of the screening process were then made before the laureates were bestowed their prizes by the organizing committee representatives Each of the four laureates express their joys upon receiving the prizes in their acceptance speech and gave their views on Fukuoka City and its citizens.

A special artistic performance of Tsukushigoto, the origin of the contemporary koto, was given, providing an additional appeal to the ceremony.

Acceptance Speech by Muhammad YUNUS (Grand Prize)

I am overwhelmed by the honour you bestow on me. I am very grateful to you for reognising our work. It helps us temendously in carrying out our mission.

In 1976, I lent $27 to 42 people to help them get out of the clutches of money - lenders. People who received my money were very happy. Seeing how easy it was to make so many people so happy with such a small amount of money, I thought I should work out a way to find money for them in a permament basis. So I went to the bank to arrange loans for them. Bank said they cannot give loans th the poor people because they are not creditworthy.

So I thought I should take upon myself to find out whether their conclusion was right. I offered myself as a guarantor and took loans for the poor people. Tried some simple ways of handling these loans. They worked. Every body paid back their loans.

This triggered a whole series of experimantation - from one village to 5 villages, then to 20 villages, 50 villages, 100 villages. Every time it worked. But conventional banks did not want to change their minds.

Finally, in 1983, we created a bank of our own. Now we work in 40,000 villages of Bangladesh. We now lend out to 2.4 million borrowers, 95 per cent of them are poor women.

We create institutions and policies on the basis of the way we make assumptions about us and others. We accept tha fact that we'll always have poor people around us. So we have poor people around us. If we had believed that poverty is unacceptable to us, it should not belong to a civilised society, we would have created appropriate institutions and policies to create a poverty - free world .

We wanted to go to the moon - so went there. We wanted to communicate with each other very fast - so we bring appropriate changes in the communication technology. We achieve what we want to achieve.

If we are not achieving something, my first suspicion will fall on the intensity of our desire to achieve it.

I strongly believe that we can create a poverty - free world, if we want to. We can create a world where there won't be a single human being who may be described as a poor person. In that kind of a world, only place you can see poverty will be in the museum. When school children will be on tour of the poverty museums, they'll be horrified to see the misery and indignity of human beings. They'll blame their forefathers for tolerating this inhuman condition to continue in a massive way.

I always feel that elimicating poverty is a matter of wil, rather than finding ways and means.

Even today we do not pay serious attention to the issue of poverty. We distance ourselves from the issue by saying that if the poor worked harder they won't be poor.

When we want to help to poor, we offer them charity. Most often we use the charity window to avoid recognizing the problem and finding a solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility.

Charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only maintans peverty by taking away the initiative from the poor. Charity allows us to get ahead with our lives without worrying about other people's lives. Our conscience gets adequately insulated by charity.

Thank you for fonouring me. By honouring me you honour the millions of people who are waiting to put in all the hard work in the world to bring dignity to themselves and to their children.

Acceptance Speech by HAYAMI Yujiro (Academic Prize)

It is great honor to be awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Preze, which is more than I deserve. As one researcher who based villages and twns in Asia as the field of his studies over the last three decades, nothing could be more gratifying than to receive a prize holding the name "Asian." I begun working with villages and towns of Asia approximately 30 years ago; it was 1974 when I was posted to the International Philippines Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines as a researcher. Soon after being assigned to the institute, I sarted a 'farm record keeping,' a research that had villagers keep records of their agricultural production and family finances in order to better understand the actual conditions of villages with actual data. I chose one village by Laguna Lake, the largest lake in the Philippines, and frequently visited that village for 2 years. What I saw there broke down the commonly hald images of villages and villagers in developing countries. Traditionally, the developed society tends to view villagers of developing countries as being bounded to their superstitions and customs, unable to make rationalized thought and hesitant to adopt new technologies. We see them as lazy farmers taking a nap by a palm tree. What I actually witnessed, however, was villagers, though in poverty, working very hard to improve thier life by embracing modern tehnologies such as new crop species and chemical fertilizers as well as employing quite logical economic calculations. Yet, in spite of their logical approaches, the villagers remain very poor. Why? It is because there is an economic mechanism is working ageinst to impede the improvement of their lives - a rapid population growth causing a rapid decrease of the cultivated land allocated to each village, poor conditions of indispensable infrastructure such as roads and irrigation system and many of the natiocal system including farm land system, financial system and tax system placing a heavy burden on villagers as well as middle - and sall - sized manufacturers. How can we combine villagers' individual interest, cooperation within the village, and support from government in eradication of poverty. As I considered this question over and over again, I finally arrived at my lifetime research theme of "economic development and the three systems - market, community and the state." Thereafter, I have pursued this theme in various places in Asia - sometimes wet in the pouring rain at terrace rice field of Java and other times in Decak Hill under the blazing sun.

My research has been nurtured and assisted by many people I have encountered in villages and towns in Asia. On receiving this prize I would like to express my greatest appreciation to these people. Thank you very much.

Acceptance Speech by Thawan DUCHANEE (Arts and Culture Prize)

My work is my love made visible, I work with all my heart and soul, with the spirit perfection of right mindfulness, wisdom and penetrated into the Buddhist philosophy. I crystallized my deepest dew drops dream in daylight and give as the sweet fragrance of jasmine into space.

I always have a bliss and contentment in my misty  temple in the heart of God, Iike a rainbow offering the cheek of earth, its colourful garland, I touch God with my creation.

And he surrounds me with sunlight of love and gives me illuminated freedom. My faith in beauty and truth, aesthetic and philosophy mingle together and made my life complete with majestic serenity and happiness.

All my life, my work rewarded me in daily wages, and I wait for my final value in love.

Your mighty prize giving me thrill with delight and I jump into the stream of incredible joy of creation, become one with the star in the milky way.

I am grateful for your appreciation, affection and understanding and I do hope this reward would link the cradle of eastern civilization, art and culture, and maintain the flame of wisdom of the universal fraternity, beauty and permanent peace of the world.

My last respect to you, that you know me to be imperfect and love me.

Acceptance Speech by Marilou DIAZ-ABAYA (Arts and Culture Prize)

I have the honor and pleasure to accept this prize from the people and the government of Fukuoka City. Such precious recognition is not mine alone, but, more importantly, that of my country. The Philippines stands unique among its Asian neighbors for dynamic cultural diversity, much of whichi results from a covergence of influences from teh East and the West, from its indigenous, as well as its colonial heritage. In the twenty - first century,l the Filipino nation continues to re - invent itself, and it is in the visual arts and in cinema that we best, and most popularly, express the evolution of our culture. 

I come from an archipelage of more tha 7,000 islands where more tha 80 dialects are sopken by people for whom national harmony, peace and prosperity remain elusive. It has been thorized that regionalism has obstructed the cultivation of a Philippine national culture. Significantly, however, local cinema, our most popular medium of entertainment and cultural exchange, has been instrumental in developing Filipino into our national language and lingua franca. It is hoped that through the language of cinema, a meaningful integration of our cultural diversities may eventually be realized.

Among the many trals which the Philippines faces today is the centuries - old armed conflict between Christians and Muslims in the southern island of Mindanao. Spearatist rebles claim the right to self - determination on the basis of their distinct religion and culture. In a country where more than 90 percent of the population are Roman Catholics, Muslim Filipions are a threatened minority vulnerable to social injustice. In the last six centuries, hundreds of thousands of lives of soldiers and rebles, Christians, Muslims and Indigenous tribal people, have been sacrificed in the war for sovereignty; and alarmingly, a glorious part of our pre - Hispanic heritage has also become a casualty of war. A peaceful and lasting resolution to this conflict is therefore of utmost urgency.

I believe that genuine reconciliation between Muslim and Christian Filipinos must begin with an appreciation of our respective cultures. For this reaso, I have chosen the war in Mindanao as the subject of my current film - in - progres. It is my hope that through cinema, culture would play a vital role in the dialogue for peace, not only in the Philippines, but also throughout th world.

In the era advanced technology and globalization, the human spirit yearns all the more for the comfort and affirmation of his cultural roots. Here in Fukuoka, I find a wonderful environment for life in the twenty - first contury. Here is found not only a vital port of international commerece, but also a sanctuary for Asian culture and the arts. I would like to make special mention of the Festival of Asian Arts celbrated yearly in Fukuoka in the month of September. In particular, the Fukuoka Asian International Film Festival has provided me with a deeper appreciation of the cultual deversity in Asia.

As a filmmaker, I thank you for giving me a new inspiration to express on the big screen the condition of the Filipino soul. And it is hoped that Phikippine cinema would make significant condition of the Filipino soul. And it is hoped that Philipine cinema would make significant contributions towards the development of life in Asia.

In the Filipino language, we say "MABUHAY!" which means "long Live!!" And so to my fellow laureates, Messrs. Mohammad Yunus, Yujiro Hayami and Thawan Duchanee, to the people of Fukuoka and Asia, my heartfelt greetings of "MABUHAY!" 


Celebration Banquet 2001

September 13, 2001 (18:00 - 19:30)
Hotel New Otani Hakata, 'Fuyo - no - Ma' Room

The four honorable laureates with their accompanying persons received a warm welcome from approxiamately 250 guests who filled the banquet hall.
Representing the organizers, Mr. Kawai Tatsuo, Chairman of the Yokatopia Foundation delivered his greetings and H. E. Mr. Sakthip Krairiksh, the Ambassador of the Royal Thai Embassy served as the toastmaster on behalf of all the distinguished guests.

The banquet proceeded in a friendly atmosphere where laureates and guests exchanged kind words and guests form a variety of professions enchanced their friendships.

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