Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation: 29 July 2015
In electing Kommaly Chanthavong to receive the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes her fearless, indomitable spirit to revive and develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, creating livelihoods for thousands of poor, war-displaced Laotians, and thus preserving the dignity of women and her nation’s priceless silken cultural treasure.
Kommaly is the third Lao citizen to receive the prestigious Magsaysay Award, along with Keo Viphakone and Sombath Sompone.
In its 58 year history, the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award has been given to over 300 distinguished persons from across Asia.
Two of these have been Lao.
The first was Keo Viphakone, who was given the prize for Government Service in 1967.
Keo recently passed away.
The second is Sombath Somphone, who received the award for Community Leadership in 2005.
Sombath was stopped by police and then abducted in December 2012.
He has not been seen since.
Further information on these outstanding Lao citizens can be found at http://www.rmaf.org.ph/newrmaf/main/awardees/filter/all/all/all/LA/1
Ramon Magsaysay Foundation: 12 December 2014
#WhereIsSombath: RMAF marks 2 years of RM Awardees’ disappearance
Where is Sombath?
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) and the community of Magsaysay Awardees had been asking this question for two years now, since RM Awardee Sombath Somphone disappeared in his native Laos.
Somphone received the Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2005 in recognition of “his hopeful efforts to promote sustainable development in Laos by training and motivating its young people to become a generation of leaders.”
He was last seen at around 5:00 p. m. on December 15, 2012 when he left the offices of the Participatory Development Learning Center in Vientiane to go home. He was in his own car; his wife Shui Meng was in another. Footage from CCTV cameras showed that Somphone’s car was stopped at a police outpost, with the Magsaysay awardee leaving his vehicle and another person driving his jeep away. Later, a pick-up truck arrived, Somphone got in, and he and two other men drove off. He did not reach his home, and his family has had no news of him since then.
A few days after the disappearance, the Magsaysay Awards community began sending emails and messages to support Somphone’s family and to ask: “Where is Sombath?” (more…)
For his tireless efforts among the youth and in community development in the countryside, he has received Asia’s most prestigious award. It is only the second time during its nearly 50 year history that the Ramon Magsaysay Award has been bestowed upon a Lao national. The first one was Keo Viphakone in 1967, for Government Service.
Vientiane Times, 10 August 2005.