Award Ceremony 2015
The Fukuoka Prize 2015 Award ceremony
- Thursday, September 17
- Fukuoka International Congress Center
The 26th Fukuoka Prize award ceremony was held in honor of the laureates in the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Fukuoka citizens, foreign guests and representatives from various fields. The ceremony began with video introductions of the laureates.
The three laureates received tremendous applause as they walked through the audience seats up to the stage, demonstrating the warmth of their reception. Mr. TAKASHIMA Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka City, began by explaining that over one hundred people had already been honored with the Fukuoka Prize. He expressed his resolve to serve the Asian region as a center for international change through the “Asian Party”, including the Fukuoka Prize and other events, under the concept of “Create with Asia.”
His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino then congratulated the laureates on their winning the prize.His address was followed by the report on the selection process by Prof. KUBO Chiharu, Chair of the Fukuoka Prize Jury and President of Kyushu University. Mayor TAKASHIMA then presented award certificates and medals to the laureates. A university student offered a congratulatory message on behalf of the people of Fukuoka City, after which children from Fukuoka International School presented the laureates with bouquets, accompanied by thunderous applause.
Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the distinguished laureates on this auspicious occasion of The Fukuoka Prize 2015 Award Ceremony.
I am pleased to learn that the total number of Fukuoka Prize Laureates has exceeded 100 this year, and I am profoundly impressed by the broad range of these laureates. I wish to express my sincere respect for the tireless endeavors of all concerned over the years in earning the prestige of this Prize.
The advancement of globalization in recent years has brought an increasingly uniform way of thinking and lifestyle. On the other hand, it has also led to a growing interest in the uniqueness and diversity of indigenous cultures, and a deeper appreciation of their importance.
Under these circumstances, I believe that The Fukuoka Prize honors those of distinguished achievements in an extremely meaningful cause that respects the distinctive and diverse cultures of Asia and contributes to their preservation and continuation, creates new culture, and promotes academic research on Asia.
This year’s laureates, like their predecessors, have devoted deep study to the cultures and societies of Asia, and represent advances in the understanding of cultural diversity that have also led to the creation of new culture. This Prize acknowledges, not just within Asia but throughout the rest of the world, the significance of their outstanding achievements, which will contribute to developments in the future, and will be shared with society as a whole as a valuable asset of mankind to be handed on to future generations.
In closing my address, I would like to congratulate the distinguished laureates once again, and I hope that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to enhance the understanding of Asia and its respective regions, and further promote peace and friendship throughout the international community.
Acceptance Speech by Thant Myint-U (Grand Prize)
Your Imperial Highnesses, Mr. Mayor, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I am deeply honored to receive this year’s Grand Prize. This is my first time to visit Fukuoka. I feel already that Fukuoka is a green and livable city, dynamic and modern. I am certain that Yangon can learn much from the city planning of Fukuoka.
When I look back on the history of Myanmar, it is clear to me that the nation thrived and developed when it was inter - connected to the world, be - cause Myanmar was ever ready to learn new things, and to adopt them. Myanmar is finally escaping decades of isolation, modernizing rapidly, and changing in many ways. I feel that it is of crucial importance to protect the traditions, arts, and architecture of Myanmar during this time of dramatic change.
Where are the strengths of Myanmar? It is important to realize that they are not in a unified tradition or culture, but in the very diversity of our culture. Many people live in many different ways in Myanmar, making the land rich in diverse ethnicities, cultures, and religions. This is a g ift, and the people of Myanmar must meet the challenges of today by overcoming barriers of prejudice to realize the full strength of diversity, and develop a comprehensive identity for the 21st century. Only when we achieve this will our long period of isolation truly end, and we will be able to fully utilize the advantages of our geographic location at the crossroads of Asia.
It is an honor to be included in the distinguished company of laureates of the Fukuoka Prize.
Acceptance Speech by Ramachandra GUHA (Academic Prize)
It is a great honor today to receive the Academic Prize.
Historians m ust s urpass prejudice and narrowness in their thinking. In research, it is crucial to read not only official documents issued by the government, but also newspapers, testimonies, social media comments, and all sorts of media information. Learning from the perspectives of people in other fields of study is also important. It is essen - tial to see beyond the barriers of patriotism and ideology.
I am an historian of Indian history, but am committed to looking at history evenly . When I study Indonesia, for example, I look at it from their perspective. The fact that Indonesian historians have access to an enormous quantity of history books on the Java kingdoms, and the Dutch colonial era, for example, had a deep impact on me.
The Fukuoka Prize surpasses national boundaries, and recognizes people who have made a contribution to all of Asia . I must express my thanks to my family for having made it possible for me to receive this prize, and to all those who assisted me, my professors and colleagues at school, and so many historians.
I also express my appreciation to Professor SATO Hiroshi, who translated my book so ably. It is the finest translation of my work so far, and printed and bound beautifully in outstanding Japanese taste.
The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu religious text, warns us not to seek physical rewards for fulfilling our personal duty. I do the work I do because I love it, and I thank you all very deeply for this prize.
Acceptance Speech by Minh Hanh (Arts and Culture Prize)
Your Imperial Highnesses, distinguished guests, I am deeply honored by being se - lected to receive the Arts and Culture Prize, not only for myself, but also because I believe it was earned by the whole of Vietnamese culture.
The Fukuoka Prize is a respected award with a long history. I must express my appreciation to all those who have strengthened and continued the prize for so long, including Fukuoka City, the Fukuoka Prize Committee, and the people of Japan.
Through your efforts over these 26 years, you have supported the fundamental development of Asian culture.
I would also like to thank the people living in tin y villages hidden deep in the mountains using wood looms, weaving. I believe that this prize is an important validation of their culture. I am confident that this contribution will open the hearts of people everywhere to new culture, and promote exchange between the people of Vietnam, and the people of Fukuoka, and Japan.
If the world were flat, I think culture would define a single ethnic g roup. An d if e ach nation understood the cul - tures of other nations, and brought together all of the people of all of the nations through culture, I think hu - manity would find happiness.
I would like to conclude my speech with my belief that culture will save the world.
The second part opened with speeches by the laureates. In response to questions from city residents, they presented their thoughts on “Democratization in Myanmar”, “Diverse India and Gandhi’s Philosophy in the Modern Era” and “Tradition and Creativity”. The speeches were followed by a collaborative live performance of Indian Ink art by Yu-ki NISHIMOTO and the Kyushu University School of Design. Brushed ink flew from the paper to the screen, spreading to transport the audience into a dynamic and changing space, and serving as a moving conclusion to the ceremony.
Celebration Banquet 2015
Following the award ceremony the celebration banquet was held,welcoming guests from various countries and interested parties. Professor KUBO commenced the banquet by explaining that it had been made possible by the long interchange between Fukuoka and other regions of Asia, and expressing his wish that it would lead to new encounters and new friendships.
Next, VU Quok Tyne, Consul General of the Consulate General of Vietnam in Fukuoka, presented a toast to congratulate the laureates and start the banquet in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
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