|2012 World Methodist Peace Awardee, Filipino-Australian Joy Balazo with Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis/Photo courtesy of the Department of Foreign Affairs
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino-Australian was recognized for her over two decades of work as a mediator and builder of peace.
Joy Balazo was honored by the World Methodist Council during ceremonies held on February 14 at the Wesley Mission in Sydney.
World Methodist Council General Secretary Bishop Ivan Abrahams presented the World Methodist Peace Award for 2012 to Balazo.
Abrahams spoke of Balazo’s inspiring dedication and commitment to sowing peace even in the most difficult of situations as her work took her across the Asia-Pacific region including Ambon, Indonesia, the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Northeastern India, Timor Leste and Bougainville.
The native of Mindanao has been involved with the Uniting Church in Australia and UnitingWorld, an aid organization, to help build peace in communities caught in conflict and violence.
Ten years ago, she established the “Young Ambassadors for Peace,” and worked with local communities to establish eight peacemaking centers in various parts of the Asia-Pacific.
Last year, Balazo returned to the Philippines to work and support efforts for peace and sustainable livelihood for the indigenous Subanen people of Zamboanga.
With the award, Balazo’s tireless peace efforts and contributions are recognized alongside those of previous recipients including former world leaders Anwar Sadat (1978), Jimmy Carter (1985), Mikhail Gorbachev (1990), Kofi Annan (1998) and Nelson Mandela (2000).
Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis joined members of the Filipino and Australian communities in congratulating Balazo for her achievements as a champion of peace and for serving as a role model to many.