International Relations

The Ramon Magsaysay Award

In 1957, the Fund established the Ramon Magsaysay Awards to honor the late President of the Philippines, who died in a plane crash in March 1957. A close ally of the United States and the personal friend of several Rockefeller brothers, Magsaysay is renowned for agrarian reforms, advocacy for common people, resistance to both communism and colonialism, and a corruption-free administration. Five inaugural awards were presented in a ceremony in Manila on August 31, 1958, the anniversary of Magsaysay’s birth. Financed with the Fund’s grant of $500,000, these awards were given for contributions made by citizens of the Philippines and other Asian countries in Government Service, Public Service, International Understanding, Journalism and Literature, and Community Leadership. The awards continue to be administered by the nonprofit Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, an independent organization established by the RBF to continue the program, and are widely regarded as one of the premier recognitions of leadership in Asia.

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