Ela Ramesh Bhatt of India to Receive 27th Niwano Peace Prize

TOKYO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - The Niwano Peace Foundation will award the 27th Niwano Peace Prize to Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt of India in recognition of her contribution for more than 30 years to improving the lives of her country's poorest and most oppressed women workers.

An award-giving ceremony will take place in Tokyo on May 13. In addition to an award certificate, Ms. Bhatt will receive a medal and 20 million yen.

Born in 1933, Ms. Bhatt, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi's teachings, is widely recognized as one of the world's most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as a "gentle revolutionary," she founded in 1972 the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a trade union now with more than 1.2 million members. In 1974, she founded the SEWA Cooperative Bank which now has an outreach of three million women. A former Indian upper house member, she founded and served as chair for Women's World Banking.

For a decade, she also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. She has received many awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award of the Philippines and France's Legion d'honneur.

In selecting Ms. Bhatt as an awardee for 2010, the Peace Prize Committee said she is "an inspiration to all of us with her commitment to uplifting the downtrodden by literally giving them the tools to be the authors of their own destiny."

Niwano Peace Prize

The Niwano Peace Prize was established in 1983 to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious understanding and cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace. To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, nominations are solicited from some 700 people and organizations, representing 125 countries. The prize is named in honor of the founder and first president of the lay Buddhist organization Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano.

Niwano Peace Foundation

The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit, and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy.

SOURCE Niwano Peace Foundation

For further information: For further information: Mr. Tadashi Takatani, Niwano Peace Foundation, Tel: +81-3-3226-4371, Fax: +81-3-3226-1835, E-mail: peaceprize@npf.or.jp, URL: www.npf.or.jp

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