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Award Ceremony 2016

The Fukuoka Prize 2016 Award ceremony

Award ceremony
Date
Friday, September 16
Venue
ACROS Fukuoka

The 27th Fukuoka Prize Award Ceremony opened with a video introducing past laureates and an opening fanfare from the Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra.

In the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, and an audience of some 1,100 guests, including distinguished guests from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries, representatives from various fields, and Fukuoka residents, the laureates walked through the audience seats on their way to the stage, in a manner befitting the Fukuoka Prize, an award bestowed by the people of Fukuoka. They were so close that one could reach out and touch them as they passed by, and the warmth that this style of entry offers, combined with the glamor of the Award Ceremony, created an atmosphere that was typical of Fukuoka, a city overflowing with hospitality.

Mr. TAKASHIMA Soichiro, Mayor of Fukuoka, began by explaining the Fukuoka Prize’s great value as an international award that casts the spotlight on Asia’s academic, artistic and cultural achievements. He added that, as well as the achievements of the more than 100 laureates to date offering hints for understanding Asia, the Prize also makes a major contribution to exchanges between people in the Asian region. He concluded his remarks with the hope that the spirit of the Fukuoka Prize, that is, its contribution to the promotion of culture, mutual understanding, and peace, would permeate the region.

His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino then congratulated the laureates. His address was followed by the Juror’s Statement by Professor KUBO Chiharu, Chair of the Fukuoka Prize Jury and President of Kyushu University. After a congratulatory message delivered by a university post-graduate student and the presentation of bouquets by children from Fukuoka International School, smiles appeared on the faces of the laureates, dispelling their earlier nerves, and the audience gave them a thunderous round of applause.

The second part of the proceedings opened with speeches from the laureates, who expressed their joy at receiving the Prize. They were then interviewed, based on questions that city residents had submitted in advance. The ceremony ended with a wonderful joint performance by Mr. A.R. RAHMAN and the Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra.

The musical world created by Mr. Rahman, which mesmerized both laureates and audience members alike, made this year’s Award Ceremony the most spectacular yet.

Award certificate and prize tiles
Award certificate and prize tiles
Interview
Interview
Grand Prize Laureate A.R. Rahman performed with the Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra
Grand Prize Laureate A.R. Rahman performed with the Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra

Address by His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino

address.jpgToday, on this auspicious occasion of the Award Ceremony for the Fukuoka Prize 2016, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the three laureates on their receiving the Prize.

In the midst of ever-advancing globalisation in the international community, many countries and regions have seen the spread of an increasingly uniform way of thinking about the world, and a style of living that prioritises convenience. At the same time, they are also concentrating their efforts on the creation of new culture, while maintaining their unique culture and traditions.

Furthermore, the varied climates and natural environments of Asia have created and nurtured indigenous history, language, and ethnic diversity over a long period of time, developing a depth and richness of culture in local communities. I too strongly believe in the importance of preserving and continuing those cultures.

Under these circumstances, we can say that the Fukuoka Prize honours those with distinguished achievements in an extremely meaningful cause that respects cultural diversity, contributes to their preservation and continuation, creates new culture, and promotes academic research in Asia.

This year’s laureates have contributed to future development in Asia through their outstanding achievements. This Prize acknowledges their work not only within Asia, but also throughout the rest of the world, the fruits of which will be shared with society as a whole, as a valuable asset of mankind to be handed on to future generations.

In closing, I would like to once again congratulate the distinguished laureates, and I hope that the Fukuoka Prize will continue to enhance the mutual understanding of Asia and its respective regions, and further promote peace and friendship throughout the international community.

Acceptance Speech by A. R. RAHMAN (Grand Prize)

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Your Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Mayor Takashima of Fukuoka, members of the Fukuoka Prize Committee, Your Excellencies the Ambassadors of India and Pakistan, ladies and gentlemen of Fukuoka City. Thank you very much.

I lost my father at a young age, and for many years, I had to support my family playing music on a keyboard that had been made in Japan.Never did I imagine that, one day, I would be honored with such a prestigious prize here in Japan.

Thanks to Ghandi and his colleagues, India now upholds the principles of democracy. My country has continued to follow in the footsteps of those great men, and we have also learned many things from Japan.

Japan’s experiences in overcoming the disasters that have struck it have provided lessons for people all over the world. No matter what conflicts we face, we must stand up to them, for the sake of our future. Japan has taught us this, and it is an extremely important lesson. After the earthquake struck, the people of Japan have kept moving forward as though nothing had happened. I think that there is a lot we can learn from this.

Thank you very much for the wonderful inspiration I have received from Japan, and for this wonderful prize.

I would also like t o express my appreciation to my homeland, India, to the teachers who taught me music, to my parents, and to my daughters. Thank you all very, very much.

Acceptance Speech by Ambeth R. OCAMPO (Academic Prize)

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While on the one hand, I am delighted to receive this prize, on the other hand, I am plagued by anxiety about whether I will be able to keep up the degree of excellence needed to live up to such a prestigious award.

The study of history involves piecing together the tiny traces left by tattered documents, dust-covered books, and broken artifacts, to compile a picture of “the past.” Historians are like monks, in that they live an iso lated life. We constantly doubt ourselves and wonder whether others will understand our work and whether researching the past has any meaning in the present. Being honored with this prize allows me to believe that my struggles so far have not been in vain, and for that I am extremely grateful.

My research focuses on the men and women who were involved in the arts, culture, and nation-building of the Philippines in the latter half of the 19th centu ry. I hope that, in an increasingly g lobalized world, my work will help the people of my country, particularly young people, to discover their identity as citizens of the Philippines.

The reason I do not publish in academic journals is that I believe that I need to engage the ordinary people.

Sometimes, we need to drag academia out of its ivory tower and return it to the people. History is not something that we can forget as soon as we leave the classroom. History is a means of understanding the present based on the past and facing the uncertainty of an unknown fut ure. The work of historians is not to become too preoccupied with the past, but to take our memories of the past with us as we progress towards the future.

This prize honors not only me and my work, but my country and its people, my family, friends, teachers,colleagues, readers, and even those people who were dismissive of me. Their criticism has helped me to become a better historian, author, and human being. I would like to share this prize with them. Thank you very much.

Acceptance Speech by Yasmeen LARI (Arts and Culture Prize)

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Your Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests. I am deeply honored to receive this Arts and Culture Prize.

It is culture that endows us with our identity, fosters social cohesion and underpins sustainable development.

Pakistan has many wonderful cultural heritage sites, including Mo-henjo-daro, the necropolis of Makli Hill, Lahore Fort, and the fortress cities of Thatta and Peshawar.

Also, in Pakistan, vernacular traditions and craft skills are passed down from mother to daughter. It is my belief that this very wise practice perpetuates the culture of tolerance and peace for our future generations.

Today, in a world that is filled with conflicts and catastrophes, like the great humanitarians and Nobel Prize laureates, Malala Yousafzai and Professor Mohammad Abdus Salam, and in the spirit of the vision held by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the father of our nation, I dedicate my life to serve humanity.

In a way, this honor also serves to highlight the threat of global warming and recurring disasters that have suffered both P akistan and Japan. We must spread the knowledge for disaster preparedness from Japan to Pakistan, and the ecolog ical systems being pursued by Pakistan to the rest of the world.

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the Fukuoka Prize Committee for bestowing on me this wonderful prize, and to my homeland, Pakistan, for giving me the opportunity to create sustainable models and work together with the community towards the realization of an ecological society. I am also deeply grateful to my parents and my husband and children for their lifelong support. Finally, I wish to express my greatestrespecttothemany oppressed women of Pakistan, who, in response to my call, have shown outstanding creativity and bravery in the face of hardship.

Interview

---Mr. RAHMAN, When does inspiration for lyrics and music strike you?
A. R. RAHMAN:A:It often strikes when I hear a good story or meet a good person. I also receive inspiration from nature and from spiritual things. I can be on an airplane or talking on the phone when something will pop into my head and I will suddenly burst out singing.
---Do you ever find composing difficult?
A. R. RAHMAN:For example, when I am feeling down in my own heart, but I have to compose something that will evoke feelings of happiness. In times like that, I have to trick my own heart. The client may want it by the following week, but sometimes my own feelings just won't comply. However, as a professional, even if I am frustrated or sad, I have to concentrate on the composition. I have to change the state of my heart. That is the hardest thing. However, most times, it goes well.
---Mr.Ocampo, What made you want to become an historian?
Ambeth R. OCAMPO:I didn't like the way my teacher taught me or the textbooks, so I decided to become a teacher. History must be something that demonstrates how the present is connected to the past.
---How do you feel about the relationship between the Philippines and Japan?
Ambeth R. OCAMPO:Both countries paid tremendous sacrifices in the War. After those terrible experiences, the relationship between our two countries has moved forward. In the 1960s, even amidst very complex emotions, we established a relationship of friendship, which has become an asset that will continue into the future.
---What do we need to do to promote exchange in the private sector?
Ambeth R. OCAMPO:It is important that people feel familiar with each other. This is where culture, music, and history have an important role to play. Through these things, we can reach the hearts of both peoples, narrow the distance between our two countries, and become even better friends.
---Ms.Lari, What are your views of the advancement of women in society?
Yasmeen LARI:In my day, it was a great struggle, but the world has changed, and today, there is no field that women cannot challenge. This is a good thing.
---Since the great earthquake that struck Pakistan in 2005, you have been involved in aid activities. What do you consider important for people's safety?
Yasmeen LARI:Disasters rob people of their lives and possessions. To prevent this, we need to build sturdy buildings out of lime and bamboo and that do not emit carbon dioxide. The buildings I make are low-cost and safe.
---What things have struck you in your work for women and children?
Yasmeen LARI:The fact that women are not given much consideration in the area of disaster preparation is a problem. It is important when preparing for disasters to ensure that everyone can take action. Not only men, but women also need to have the awareness and the right to save themselves and their families with their own power. Women need to learn self-help and self-reliance.

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Special Collaborative Performance A. R. Rahman and Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra

The ceremony ended with a wonderful joint performance by Mr. A.R.RAHMAN and the Fukuoka Seiryo High School Orchestra.

Performers
Vo.&Piano/ Mr. A.R. Rahman
Vo./ Ms. Jonita Gandhi
Sitar/ Mr. Asad Khan
Conductor:Ricardo Averbach

Program
「Bombay theme」(From the film, Bombay)
「Oruvan Oruvan』(From the film,Muthu)
「Mausam & Escape」(From the film, Slumdog Millionaire)
「Jai Ho」(From the film, Slumdog Millionaire)

Celebration Banquet 2016

After the Award Ceremony, a celebratory reception was held, attended by distinguished guests from the various countries and representatives from various fields.

Mr. ISOYAMA Seiji, Chairman of the Fukuoka City International Foundation, declared the reception open by expressing the hope that this day would bring new encounters that would blossom into long-lasting connections. Next, His Excellency Mr. Sujan R. CHINOY, Indian Ambassador to Japan, gave a speech on behalf of the distinguished guests, followed by a toast delivered by His Excellency Mr. Farukh AMIL, Pakistani Ambassador to Japan. After these formalities, lively conversations and laughter ensued, and the laureates and their partners were surrounded by well-wishers. The party ended with a surprise cake and present for Mr. Rahman’s daughter, Rahima, whose birthday was that day, with everyone in attendance wishing her a happy birthday.

Grand Prize Laureate A.R. Rahman
Grand Prize Laureate A.R. Rahman
Mr. Ocampo with a smile
Ms.Lari talking with attendees

Official program reports

Click to see more 2016 reports.