It’s an award that recognizes the best and bravest Asia has to offer. Eight individuals and groups from Asia have been recognized for breaking stereotypes and bringing the world a message of hope.
CGTN’s Wang Guan reports on the 2018 Game Changer of the Year awards in New York.
From the 12 Thai soccer boys who have been trapped in an underground cave and survived after 17 days
Eight Asian individuals and groups have been awarded 2018 Game Changer of the year by Asia Society, a leading U.S. non-profit organization that connects Asia and the West.
In a year that saw its fair share of conflicts, the society recognized these individuals as messengers of hope and peace.
One Thai soccer boy said it was peace – or inner peace, rather that helped him through the ordeal.
“He’s saying he meditated for some, some time, so that everybody could have a calm kind of feeling, keeping everyone calm and then the other children meditated with him,” Thai Cave Football Coach Ekkapol Chantawong said.
The Asia Game Changer Awards are also about breaking glass-ceilings. Born and raised in India, Indra Nooyi was the first female CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest beverage producer in the world.
“You can only make change if you make it for other people. Breaking the glass ceiling is a big deal,” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said.
The organizers made sure it’s also about the unsung heroes, such as:
- A former child soldier in Nepal who later become the country’s champion distance runner,
- the rescue workers who risked their lives during Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster,
- an Iraqi doctor who fled the Saddam Hussein regime to become a pioneering surgeon, and
- the White Helmets in Syria (a volunteer organization that’s saved lives during the ongoing civil war).
Representing China, real estate tycoon Wang Shi received the award for his advocacy for environmental sustainability.
“They are inspiring. They are about by and large messages of hope, about people who have had triumphs because of their resilience,” said Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President of the Asia Society. “Asians are under-represented. So first of all, we want to bring some recognition to a part of the world, which no matter how you look at it, is the most important part of the planet.”
Despite growing regional and global geopolitical tensions, the Asia Society says these people remind countries that as different as they might be, their common humanity matters more.