CHED Commissioner receives prestigious peace prize

Commissioner Ronald L. Adamat of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) was awarded the “Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace” --- making him the first-ever Filipino to receive such an award.

(Image courtesy of CHED)

The award was conferred on Adamat by Dr. Prasana Kumar Patsani, Chairman of Mahatma M.K. Gandhi Foundation for Nonviolent Peace, and Secretary-General Dr. Jyoti Mohapatra in an online ceremony attended by peace advocates and renowned personalities from all over the world on March 27.

In a statement, CHED said that the peace prize was supposed to have been awarded in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic.

Adamat, in his acceptance speech, said that Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world” became the inspiration and guiding light in his advocacy to bring peace to the Filipino people.

“Being an educator, I am thankful of this award and I feel so much inspired to pour out my energy, resources, time, and talent toward peace-building,” Adamat said.

Honored to receive the award, Adamat said he will use it to challenge the Filipino youth to never forget the value of peace in nation-building.

Adamat was chosen among 258 nominees from around the world. He is the first Filipino recipient of the said peace prize.

Among the previous awardees were Jimmy Carter (USA), Margaret Thatcher (Britain), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Mikhail Gorbachev (USSR), S.D. Sharma (India), K.R. Naray anan (India), R Venkataraman Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh), former United Nations Secretaries-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Boutros Boutros Ghali, Kurt Waldheim, former United Nations Undersecretary-General Joseph Verner Reed, Chairman Man Hee Lee (HWPL), Chairwoman Nam Hee Kim of the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), Dr. Young Seek Choue, and Alexander Kim who all believe that non-violent peace throughout the world can be achieved.

Being a member of the Indigenous Peoples belonging to the Tedurays of Upi, Maguindanao, Adamat said he personally saw his people suffer as a result of greed, politics, and ideology.

“We suffered injustice. We suffered from violence. We were discriminated . We were a people who were without voice, and we wanted change,” Adamat said.

Adamat said that he pursued his Ph.D. in Peace and Development to show his deepest honor and respect for Mahatma Gandhi.

As CHED Commissioner, Adamat took the initiative to integrate into the higher education curricula both Peace Studies and Indigenous Peoples Studies in 2019 mandated state universities and colleges, local universities, and colleges, including private higher education institutions to include in their respective curricula these very important subjects.

He also established the Volunteer Individuals for Peace, Inc. (VIP), a non-government organization dedicated to peace works in his desire to promote the culture of peace and non-violence.

For Adamat, the Mahatma MK Gandhi Prize for Non-Violent Peace Award shall remind him of his responsibility to promote non-violent peace through education, and that never in his wildest dream that one day an award named after the man he admired so much will be conferred on him.

Meanwhile, CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera also expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Adamat in advocating for peace in higher education.

“More than an award that is given to you as an advocate of peace, this award is also an award given to the Commission on Higher Education and to the Philippines as you join the prestigious list of dignitaries that have been recognized for pushing and continuing their quest for peace all over the world,” De Vera said.