FUKUOKA, Japan – It was a proud moment for the Philippines but a bittersweet one for the man of the hour.
Sociologist Randy David received the prestigious 2019 Fukuoka Grand Prize on Tuesday in a ceremony held in the city’s international convention center. David is the first Filipino recipient of the grand prize.
In his speech, David dedicated the award to his late wife, Karina Constantino-David, who made plans with the family to join him in the ceremony.
“She’s not with us tonight but our children are grandchildren are. My wife Karina passed away in May, a few weeks after she learned that I have been chosen to receive the Fukuoka prize. She did not make it to the ceremony. This is for her.”
David also dedicated the award to “peace-loving Filipinos” after stressing the importance of friendship in his speech.
“I am filled with strong feelings that what we are honoring by these awards are not so much of personal achievements but certain things that are timeless and enduring. These are the values of friendship, cooperation, solidarity and tolerance amid diversity,” David said.
“In a time of great uncertainty and anxiety, when once again there appears to be a sudden eruption of thoughtless threats by leaders riding in the winds of backward-looking nationalism, it is the enduring values of friendship and cooperation which will save human civilization from destruction.”
The annual Fukuoka Prize recognizes outstanding groups and individuals for their work in preserving, developing and celebrating the diverse Asian culture.
The awards committee honored David as “a leading Asian public intellectual and intellectual activist.”
“I’d like to think that by giving me this award, I feel like I’m receiving a knighthood from Japan. I hope I don’t need a visa anymore the next time I come,” David quipped during the ceremony’s interview portion, which drew laughter from the mostly-Japanese audience.
Other honorees in this year’s Fukuoka Prize were historian Leonard Blussé of the Netherlands who received the Academic Prize and playwright and stage director Sato Makoto of Japan who received the Arts and Culture Prize.
This is the 30th year of the Fukuoka Prize. Previous Filipino laureates of the Fukuoka Prize are Ambeth Ocampo (Academic Prize ‘16), filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik (Arts and Culture Prize ‘12), historian Reynaldo Ileto (Academic Prize ‘03), filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Arts and Culture Prize ‘01) and architect Leandro Locsin (Arts and Culture Prize ‘92).