Afghanistan’s first female governor, Habiba Sarabi, was selected as one of the recipients of the prestigious Ramon Masaysay Awards.
Habiba Sarabi, 57, was chosen for helping build a functioning local government and pushing for education and women’s rights in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province despite working in a violent and impoverished environment in which discrimination is pervasive, the foundation said. Public education and the ratio of female students have increased in her province, where more women are taking up careers that were forbidden under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime. (Huffingpost.com)
“In the face of widespread hostilities toward women assuming public roles, her courage and determination are outstanding,” the foundation said of Sarabi, a member of an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan.
Sarabi is a hematologist, politician, and reformer of the post-Taliban reconstruction of Afghanistan. In 2005, she was appointed as governor of Bamyan Province by President Hamid Karzai, becoming the first woman to ever be a governor of any province in the country. She previously served in Karzai’s government as Minister of Women’s Affairs as well as Minister of Culture and Education. Sarabi has been instrumental in promoting women’s rights and representation and environment issues. She belongs to the ethnic Hazara people of Afghanistan.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay’s example of integrity in government, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize. The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government.