HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The first Gautam Buddha International Peace Award (GBIPA) will be distributed tomorrow in Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, on the occasion of the 2555th Buddha Jayanti.
Two Japanese mayors, the winners of the award, have already arrived in Nepal to receive the honour. Both winners Dr Tadatoshi Akiba (69) of Hiroshima and Tomihisa Taue (55) of Nagasaki arrived here at 2:00 pm today, according to the Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture (MoFACAPAC). “They left Kathmandu for Lumbini today,” said government officials.
The award distribution ceremony that will run from 9:00 am to 11:00 am tomorrow.
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav will present the award of $50,000. Vice President Paramananda Jha, Culture Minister Khagendra Prasad Prasai and other senior government officials, among others, will attend the ceremony.
Each of the winners will receive a purse of $25,000, medals and honorary certificates, said Rishi Kesh Niraula, under secretary at MoFACAPAC. “A reception banquet will be held for the winners at Basantapur in Kathmandu on May 18.”
The two Japanese mayors were chosen to be honoured with the award recognising their contribution to peace and humanity following Buddha’s teachings after the devastation of World War II in Japan.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely ravaged by atom bombs during the war in August 1945, nearly 200,000 people were killed. Thousands of Japanese were affected for many years. Advocating human rights, the two mayors had worked to restore peace and prosperity in the country.
They are known as leaders of the ‘Mayors of Peace’ movement that has involved over 4,000 municipalities in the world. The movement has been advocating nuclear non-proliferation, military reduction and disarmament to establish peace as a mission of global solidarity. The Gautam Buddha International Peace Award was set up by the Government of Nepal to honour persons and organisations working for peace, Buddhism and human rights.
The government conceived the GBIPA plan in 1998 and set up the award in 2002. It will be distributed every five years.