Ambassador Barry Gusi, who created the Gusi Peace Prize, talks to AseanAffairs about what is often called the Nobel Prize of Asia, and its origins, progress and vision.
Q: How did Gusi peace prize come into existence and how would you describe the progress the foundation has made over the years?
A: The Gusi Peace Prize traces its roots through the efforts of Capt. Gemeniano Javier Gusi, a World War II guerilla who fought against Japanese oppression, turned politician, and became popular for his fight for human rights. He was being supported in his endeavor by his loving wife, Madame Teodora Sotejo Gusi, who performed various charity works, helping mothers and abused children and wives, the sick and the unemployed, the poor, deprived and humiliated individuals in society throughout the Philippines.
A few years before Madame Teodora Sotejo Gusi expired, she knew that their son, the Honourable Barry Gusi, a renowned internationalist, would be the right one to take over what her husband had started, thereby creating the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation where Manila, Philippines is the home.
The Gusi Peace Prize was established through the support of the friends of the Gusi family, who share the same mission and vision.
The Gusi Peace Prize used to be just a charitable foundation , an institution based in Manila, Philippines, until Chairman Barry Gusi , who is a world traveller and an internationalist envisioned to make it international in scope by giving recognition through conferment of awards of excellence and distinction to individuals or groups worldwide who have distinguished themselves as brilliant exemplars of society or who contributed toward the attainment of peace and respect for human life and dignity.
The conferment of awards to international laureates started in 2002, and since then, it has established its international link from different parts of the globe.
In 2008, the President of the Philippines, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal –Arroyo, signed Presidential Proclamation 1476, declaring every fourth Wednesday of November as “The Gusi Peace Prize International Friendship Day”.
Since the Gusi Peace Prize has been creating an international chain of friendship and peace, and has been admired worldwide it will hold its next Gusi Peace Prize International Awards Night next year at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), that will accommodate thousands of local and foreign delegates who come and join together to celebrate this memorable day of international friendship and goodwill.
Through the leadership and persistence of its Honourable Chairman Barry Gusi, the Gusi Peace Prize is putting the Philippines in the international scene as the rendezvous of the East and the West, where people of different creed, colour, beliefs, customs and traditions, meet and join together to honor distinguished individuals to inspire the world, and where everybody take the opportunity to make new friends and rekindle old ones, discover the beauty of the country, and celebrate “The Gusi Peace Prize International Friendship Day”.
Through the assistance of his loving wife, a renowned Pediatrician in the Philippines, Dr. Evelyn Tantamco-Gusi, and her colleagues, government and non-government agencies, the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation has been conducting grand charity missions and gift-giving projects in calamity and disaster areas, and poverty-stricken areas around the country.
The Gusi Peace Prize has gone a long way of reaching the upper and middle class local and foreign segments of the international community, and has also touched the lives of the marginal and those living in subsistence through its mercy missions and other charitable projects. And all of these work is for the greater honor and glory of God through mankind.
Q:The award is called Gusi Peace Prize. Non-profit organisations started from one family could be something that the Gusi Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize share although each has different histories. Please tell us about the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation – its origin and missions.
A: The Gusi Peace Prize is a non-profit foundation, based in Manila, Philippines, registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission, which traces its roots through the efforts of Capt. Gemeniano Javier Gusi, a World War II guerilla who fought against Japanese oppression, turned politician, and became popular for his fight for human rights.
He was being supported in his endeavor by his loving wife, Madame Teodora Sotejo Gusi, who performed various charity works, helping mothers and abused children and wives, the sick and the unemployed, the poor, deprived and humiliated individuals in society throughout the Philippines.
A few years before Madame Teodora Sotejo Gusi passed away, she knew that their son, The Honourable Barry Gusi, a renowned internationalist, would be the right one to take over what her husband had started, thereby creating the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation where Manila, Philippines is the home.
Chairman Barry Gusi, whose passion touching the lives of the needy and giving voice for the oppressed continued his strong effort to work for equality of life , no discrimination, but only respect, dignity and discipline to make our world a better place to live in.
His father who championed human rights and equality of lives of people gave him the courage to treat people with respect.
The late Captain Gemeniano Gusi told him. “You are a world traveler. Wherever you are, stand and deliver. Defend your country, speak high of our country. We are Filipinos, the highest race of the brown people. Defend our oppressed and deprived countrymen. Look back. Help the poor. This is what I have done to our country. We must continue the good deed.”
As the Gusi Peace Prize goes on, it continues to give charity within the entire country and other parts of Asia; and will continue to work for the good of the people. Indeed the Gusi Peace Prize brings economic and tourism industry in the country. The Gusi Peace Prize has become one of the foremost peace prize in Asia and the whole world today. The Gusi Peace Prize envisions itself to approximate the honor and respect accorded to the Nobel Peace Prize of Norway, and the Pulitzer of the United States of America. The Gusi Peace Prize will continue to recognize, honor and give pride and dignity to every deserving achiever and peacemaker worldwide.
Q: There are a number of categories wherein awards are given. Is there such a category considered more important than the others?
A: The Gusi Peace Prize aims to give honor and awards to distinguished individuals or groups worldwide with exemplary contributions to peace and human rights, in Scientific Research, Medicine or Physiology, Chemistry, Nursing, Economics, Engineering Technology, Architecture, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Academe, Literature, Journalism, Politics, Statesmanship, Philanthropy or Humanitarianism, Religion, Physics, Mathematics, Sports, Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, Job Creation, Internatinalism and others.
All categories are the same, however, they should not only be achievers in their specific fields but must have a contribution to world peace or to the respect and dignity of human life.
Q: How are the candidates chosen, and what are the basic qualifications for a Gusi Peace Prize candidate?