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Joy Balazo Wins Peace Award

PH Born Joy Balazo Wins Peace Award

Joy Balazo
Joy Balazo wins Peace Prize

PH Born Joy Balazo Wins Peace Award previously won by Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, Nelson Mandela,  Mikhael Gorbachev and Kofi Anan.

Mindanao-born peace builder Ms Joy Balazo  was awarded the World Methodist Peace Award whose previous winners include Anwar Sadat (1978), Jimmy Carter (1985), Mikhael Gorbachev (1990),  Kofi Anan (1998) and Nelson Mandela (2000).

Balazo was cited for a lifetime career of Human Rights and Peace Building including her work alongside the Uniting Church of Australia in establishing the  Young Ambassador for Peace, a network of eight peace-making centres in Asia and the Pacific.

The award was given by Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of World Methodist Council during a church service at The Lyceum of the Wesley Mission Centre in Sydney last Thursday  14 February 2013.

Rev. Kerry Enright, National Director of uniting World, the agency of the Assembly of the Uniting Chruch said, ”Over the years Joy’s ministry through Uniting World  has contributed to the mediation of tribal conflicts in Papua New Guinea, brought together Muslims and Christians in Ambon and Mindanao, and been a part of the peace building efforts in Burma, Sri Lanka, Northeast India and Solomon Islands.”

Joy was born in Southern Philippine island of Mindanao as the youngest of nine children, according to the 2012 Peace Award souvenir program.

“After a short period in a Catholic convent, Joy decided that her life’s work was to be in the midst of the world’s pain and left the convent to enter the world of Human Rights and Peace Building. She came to Australia in 1980s after working with the ecumenical and human rights organisations in the Philippines.”

“For over 20 years Joy has worked not only in Uniting Church of Australia but also with the Uniting World, an organisation created by Uniting Church in Australia as an aid agency for the region.

“Ten years ago Joy established the Young Ambassadors for Peace , acting as their leader and working with local committees to establish eight peacemaking centres in Asia and the Pacific.

“Joy has worked to bring to bring 32 clans in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea that helped end the tribal conflicts in the area. She has also worked in Solomons Islands, Sri Lanka, along the Thailand-Burma border, Northeastern India, Timor Leste and Bougainville.

“In 1999. Joy was at the centre of the Maluko Ambassadors for Peace movement that was called to action during the Indonesian sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in Ambon Island and the chain of island of the province of Maluko. It was reported that three-quarters of a million people were displaced by the outbreak of hostilities and an estimated 5,000 lives were lost.

“Joy recently returned to home to the Philippines to work in Mindanao amongst the indigenous Subanen people of the Zamboanga peninsula, supporting their efforts for peace and sustainable livelihood.”

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