The Ramon Magsaysay Award experience was one I will cherish for a lifetime. Being recognized by the Foundation and the hospitality of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) team has been humbling, to say the least. The care and attention I have received from every single person who has been part of this journey have inspired me to do even better for those needing our support.
I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the Philippine media who were ever so kind and eager to learn more about Akhuwat’s story, its model, philosophy, and the development efforts being carried out in Pakistan. Engaging with students and young individuals from the Philippines who have a curiosity and passion for social change through the ‘Dialogue with Asian Youth Leaders’ event was another pleasant experience where I had the opportunity to exchange ideas, life experiences, and areas where youth from across Asia can collaborate with Akhuwat to create a better world for all. I believe it is only by learning from each other that we can all grow as a community.
I would also like to appreciate the RMAF team for managing the logistics, schedules, and technical glitches so professionally amidst a global pandemic. Although I was looking forward to visiting your beautiful country, the events were planned so nicely that the virtual experience was unforgettable. I am hopeful that I will be able to visit the Philippines and meet all my friends to pay my respects and thanks in person.
It was a privilege to have the support of RMAF President Susan Afan throughout the course of events as she ensured her presence during all events, especially the ambassador event where all attendees were full of praise for the commitment displayed by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. Meeting other fellow Magsaysay laureates was another enlightening experience through the month of activities. I am extremely honored to be a part of the distinguished fellow Awardees of this year as hearing their heroic stories about transforming Asia through their ideas and services has been very inspirational for me.
Receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award allowed me to spread the message and story of Akhuwat to a large number of people across the globe through my public lecture on ‘Faith Inspired Giving: Akhuwat’s Journey in Changing Lives’. While it is difficult to choose one moment that stands out in these past couple of months, receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award medallion in the presence of my friends, the honorable Philippine ambassador, my wife and children, and my mentor, as well as Ramon Magsaysay Laureate Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career. During that moment I realized the story of Akhuwat that created a great impact and legacy, a legacy that would last beyond us all, a legacy that would, God willing, continue to alleviate poverty. It was thus, a reminder of hope and the good that is present around the world, the promise of brotherhood that continues to live on.
I am nothing but entirely humbled. This award is not for me but for Pakistan and for every single person all over the world who believes that poverty can be eliminated.
Once again, I am truly grateful to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation for bestowing me with this award, and the RMAF team led by Chairperson Aurelio Montinola III and President Susan Afan, who has worked tirelessly across boundaries, beyond time zones to make this honor a truly memorable experience for us all. It is my pledge on behalf of Pakistan, that we will continue our struggle till we reach our goal of a peaceful and poverty-free world.