Sunhak Peace Prize Awards Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina and Waris Dirie
True Mother awarded one million dollars to this year’s Sunhak Peace Prize laureates, Waris Dirie and Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, as part of her philanthropic work, at the Lotte Hotel in Korea on February 9. The biennial award honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and welfare of future generations.
As an agricultural economist, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has been a leader in agricultural innovation for over 30 years. He has contributed greatly to food security in Africa, aimed at improving the lives of millions currently living in poverty throughout the African continent. “This Prize is not about me. No one should ever work to win a prize. I serve God and humanity. For my life is only useful to the extent to which it helps to lift millions out of poverty,” stated Dr. Adesina during his acceptance speech.
Dr. Adesina has been pioneering major transformations in the agricultural field, including expanding rice production by introducing high yielding technologies, designing and implementing policies to support farmers’ access to technologies at scale, increasing the availability of credit for millions of smallholder farmers, attracting private investments for the agricultural sector, rooting out corrupt elements in the fertilizer industry, and assisting in the establishment of major agricultural policies for Africa’s green revolution.
The Africa Fertilizer Summit, which he organized in 2006, was one of the largest high-level meetings in history that had a focus on solving Africa’s food issues. During the Summit, Dr. Adesina was instrumental in developing the “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution,” whereby the participants stated their commitment to the “eradication of hunger in Africa by 2030.”
Dr. Adesina currently serves as the president of the African Development Bank Group, which plays a central role in the continent’s development. As an “economic commander” of Africa, he promotes the “High 5 Strategy:” light up and power Africa; feed Africa; industrialize Africa; integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Waris Dirie, human rights activist, was the first person in history to publicize the violence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the world stage, saving millions of lives by raising the issue of FGM as an international human rights agenda. As a victim of FGM herself, she quit a successful career as a supermodel and dedicated the past 25 years to making FGM a recognized worldwide human rights crisis.
Ms. Dirie is actively working to raise awareness of this violent act that has affected the lives of countless women and girls. Her advocacy focuses on education as the fundamental key to eradicating FGM and empowering women and girls to have the knowledge they need to protect themselves. She emphasizes the fact that until women have equal respect, there cannot be lasting peace.
In 2002, she founded the Desert Flower Foundation, an organization aimed at raising awareness of the dangers surrounding FGM. The Foundation raises money for schools and clinics in her native Somalia and supports the Zeitz Foundation, an organization focused on sustainable development and conservation.
For more information about the Sunhak Peace Prize and this year’s laureates, visit sunhakpeaceprize.org.