The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) is an international
wholly independent non-profit organization based in Manila, Philippines.
RMAF manages the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation was created in 1957, the year the Philippines lost in a plane crash a President who was well-loved for his simplicity and humility, his passion for justice, particularly for the poor, and his advancement of human dignity. Among the many friends and admirers of the late President around the world were the Rockefeller brothers. With the concurrence of the Philippine government, the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) established the Ramon Magsaysay Award to honor President Magsaysay’s memory and perpetuate his example of integrity in public service and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.
Supported with a generous endowment from the RBF, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation was organized in Manila in May 1957, with seven prominent Filipinos as founding members of the foundation’s board of trustees. The Foundation has since implemented the Ramon Magsaysay Award program, pursuing the objective of honoring greatness of spirit in selfless service to the people of Asia. The first Ramon Magsaysay Awards were given on August 31, 1958 to five outstanding individuals working in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and SriLanka, and a Philippine-based organization.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) recognizes persons and organizations in Asia that exemplify transformative leadership and greatness of spirit.
But beyond the Award, RMAF seeks to amplify and further enhance the Magsaysay laureates’ work and legacy so their ideas and solutions to Asia’s pressing problems extend beyond their borders; inspiring emergent leaders to do more of what is good and what is right, to make Asia a better and kinder place for all.
We search for ordinary men, women and organizations that do extraordinary work in Asia.
We support the work of the Ramon Magsaysay Laureates, connecting them to global resources, including next generation leaders.
We seek to inspire. We forge dialogue. We ignite action.
The first Ramon Magsaysay Awards Presentation Ceremonies were held on August 31, 1958. The Awards were presented to a Philippine-based organization and five outstanding individuals working in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka.
Designed by Alfredo J. Luz and Associates, the Ramon Magsaysay Center was built and opened to house the Foundation, perpetuate the Awards, and provide a space for its first tenants.
The Program for Asian Projects (PAP) was created by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) in direct response to the outcomes of the first-ever Magsaysay Awardees Assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand in November 1987. The PAP, as a major program of RMAF, has successfully achieved its primary objective of advancing the work of Magsaysay Awardees by providing financial assistance for their continuing or new projects. The PAP program ended in 2008.
The Awardee category of Emergent Leadership was inaugurated, supported by a grant from The Ford Foundation.
As it marked its 50th year of granting the Award, RMAF spearheaded The Asia Forum, an international conference that examined Asia’s most compelling challenges and looked at ways by which partnerships may be forged to create the greatest impact for the peoples of Asia.
The Ramon Magsaysay Transformative Leadership Institute (RMTLI) was established as a major program of RMAF. It aims to promote the transformative solutions of the Magsaysay Laureates towards making broader, more strategic interconnections among Asian leaders.
The RMTLI NextGen Leadership Program was established with the goal of bringing together the next generation of Asian leaders mentored by Ramon Magsaysay Awardees to create innovative projects for the future of Asia.
RMAF celebrates the 65th anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards with the main drive of transforming the Ramon Magsaysay Center into Asia's center for inspiration and hope.
Gigi Montinola is the Chairman of the Board of Philippine-based Far Eastern University. He is also a member of the board of World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines and Philippine Business for Education, as Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively.
He has served as President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands from 2005 to 2013, and of the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines from 2008 to 2012. He was twice awarded with the Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award for the Philippines and was named the Management Association of the Philippines Management Man of the Year in 2012.
Prior to being the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Mr. Montinola was its Treasurer in 2018 and 2019.
Dato Timothy Ong is the Founder and Chairman of Asia Inc. Forum, a regional platform for policy and business dialogue. He is the recipient of The Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Brunei given by His Majesty, the Sultan of Brunei, which confers the title “Dato Paduka.”
Aside from his work for the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, he sits on the board of various leading regional organizations including Baiduri Bank Group, and the Asian Advisory Board of Prudential Financial. He is also a Governor of the Asian Institute of Management.
Susan Afan worked for three decades for a Fortune 500 global staffing firm in the United States, Robert Half International, and retired as a District President in Southern California. In 2005, she was recognized as its number one Regional Manager in the world.
She returned to the Philippines in 2014 and served as Managing Director and a member of the Board of Trustees of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation (ALKFI), the socio-civic arm of the Philippines most trusted media company, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network. She is also a current board member of Bayan Academy and WeSolve Foundation.
Ms. Afan joined the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation as its President in January 2021.
Ambassador Cuisia took his official diplomatic post as Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America from 2011 to 2016. He served as the Governor of the Philippine Central Bank and Chairman of its Monetary Board from 1990-1993. He also served as Governor for the Philippines to the International Monetary Fund, and Alternate Governor to the World Bank.
Cuisia was President, CEO and Vice Chair of Philam Life, one of the leading insurance companies of the Philippines, for 16 years. He was also Chairman of the Board for BPI-Philam Life Assurance Co. and the Philam Foundation.
Currently, he is the Chairman of FWD Life Insurance Co. (Philippines), The Covenant Car Company and the University of Asia & the Pacific Foundation Inc. Amb. Cuisia was conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu by Pres. Benigno Aquino III in 2016 and received the Management Man of the Year Award from the Management Association of the Philippines in 2007.
Prior to his position as its Treasurer, he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation from 2018-2019.
Widely acknowledged as an authority and trailblazer in advertising and marketing management, Emily Abrera served as Chairman, President & CEO of McCann-Erickson Philippines. Upon retirement, she was named Chairman-Emeritus at McCann Worldgroup Philippines, and non-executive Chairman of McCann Worldgroup in the Asia-Pacific region.
Her other interests are reflected in her involvement in diverse organizations, having served as Chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and as member of the EDSA People Power Commission. She is a trustee of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, and the Philippine Eagle Foundation, among others.
Ms. Abrera served the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2006 and 2010, Vice-Chairman in 2005, 2008-2009, and 2011, and was its Interim President in 2020.
Randolf David is a renowned Filipino journalist, sociologist, and public intellectual. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of the Philippines (UP), where he has taught since 1967. He has authored several books including National Book Award winners “Reflections on Sociology and Philippine Society” (2001) and “Nation, Self, and Citizenship: An Invitation to Philippine Sociology” (2002).
He has given lectures across the globe on a broad range of subjects such as language and consciousness, culture and development, education and the mass media, among others. Prof. David received the prestigious Fukuoka Prize in 2019 for his outstanding contributions to Asian culture.
He served as the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Ernesto Garilao is the Chairman and President of the Zuellig Family Foundation, one of the largest healthcare services groups in Asia.
Mr. Garilao has extensive experience in development work as Executive Director of Philippine Business for Social Progress (1978-1992). He served as Secretary of the Philippine Department of Agrarian Reform under the administration of Pres. Fidel Ramos. From 1994-1998, he was Vice-Chairman of the Social Reform Council, the highest policy-making body for the Philippines’ anti-poverty programs.
In 2019, Mr. Garilao was awarded the Xiong An International Health Forum Impact Award, a recognition for an outstanding achievement by an established professional in improving global health.
Cielito Habito was the youngest member of the Cabinet of Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos as Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning and Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority. He chaired the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development from 1992-1998, and was elected Chair of the Sixth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York in 1998.
He has worked at the World Bank, Harvard University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Kyoto University, and Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo. He is a Professor of Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he is also the Director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development. He is also Chairman of Brain Trust: Knowledge and Options for Sustainable Development Inc.
Prof. Habito’s column, “No Free Lunch,” appears weekly in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the Philippine’s leading broadsheets.
Cecilia Lazaro is a multi-awarded broadcast journalist who has been recognized both locally and internationally for her pioneering work in television. She was co-founder and producer of Probe Productions, a Philippine media company that produced several revolutionary Filipino programs, including 5 and Up, Art Is Kool, Gameplan, Cheche Lazaro Presents, Probe Profiles, and The Probe Team, the first and longest-running investigative newsmagazine in the Philippines.
For her works, Ms. Lazaro received several awards and recognitions, including the KBP Golden Dove Awards, Catholic Mass Media Awards (Hall of Fame), Malolos Heritage Foundation, Philippine Movie Press Club, and Gawad CCP para sa Telebisyon. In 2001, she received the Silver World Medal for Television Documentary and Information Program on Social Issues/Current Events at the New York Festival.
Ramon R. del Rosario Jr. is the President and CEO of PHINMA Inc and PHINMA Corporation. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of PHINMA Education Holdings, Inc., which provide the underserved sectors access to quality education and of the nine educational institutions in the PHINMA education network. Mr. del Rosario is also the founding Chairman of Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) and is Vice-Chairman of Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Caritas Manila, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
He served as the Secretary of the Department of Finance of the Philippines from 1992 to 1993. He was the Chairman of the Makati Business Club, the Integrity Initiative, and the National Museum of the Philippines. He was Chairman of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation from 2016-2017.
Mr. del Rosario was selected as the Most Outstanding Student of the Philippines in 1967, one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines in 1978, the MAP Management Man of the Year in 2010 and received the “Business as a Noble Vocation Award” in 2018.
Suzanne E. Siskel is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across Asia-Pacific.
Her past experience include leadership roles at the Ford Foundation both in their New York headquarters and in its Southeast Asian operations. She served as acting director of Ford Foundation’s Gender Rights and Equality unit in support of women’s economic rights, LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS. Her last role at Ford Foundation was as director of Social Justice Philanthropy. Ms. Siskel played an integral role in the establishment of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership through a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Trained as a social anthropologist, Ms. Siskel has served variously as a consultant, university teacher, and researcher throughout Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico. She studied social anthropology, receiving her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.
Ambassador Urabe is a well-known Japanese diplomat who has served as Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and Consul General in Atlanta. He also served as the Deputy Director for Policy Coordination of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet in Japan and was involved in the coordination of the Ministry’s response to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the first Gulf War.
After a brief Directorship at the Oceania Affairs Division in 1990, he was called in to serve as Private Secretary to the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs in July 1991. He was subsequently posted in Canberra in 1993 and Bangkok in 1996, during which time he observed the evolution of the economic crisis of 1999.
In 2014, Ambassador Urabe was conferred the Order of Sikatuna, the national order of diplomatic merit of the Republic of the Philippines by President Benigno Aquino, Jr.