New Delhi (Mizzima) – Burmese in the US have drawn up a shortlist of five candidates for a Citizen of Burma Award. The award is given to Burmese volunteers and social workers for their personal sacrifices and contributions.
The candidates for the award are the National League for Democracy’s Social Welfare Aid Team, detained comedian Zarganar (aka) Thura, HIV/AIDS activist Phyu Phyu Thin, activist lawyer Pho Phyu and Shu, a donor and regular visitor to detained monks and nuns who are political prisoners.
One of the organizers, Kyaw Wunna, told Mizzima, ‘Our selection criterion is based on the three facts: personal sacrifice for social work, the fruitfulness of their work; and being role models for the Burmese citizens and society. We gave five points for each fact. Then the eligible voters in the award committee chose the candidates who are on the shortlist by voting’.
The committee received more than 100 proposals for the award, mostly from inside Burma. There are a total of 34 people or social groups on the list.
‘We received proposals from inside Burma, which contained the profiles of the candidates’, Kyaw Wunna said.
First, the committee chose 20 candidates and then they drew up a shortlist of five candidates.
‘For this year, some cities in England have joined with our committee. Each city had to choose five candidates from the 20 selected candidates. We want to invite other cities to join. On our website, we will publish the requirements to join’, Kyaw Wunna said.
This is the second ‘Citizen of Burma Award’. The first winner was the Free Funeral Service Society chairman Kyaw Thu, a former actor.
The award is open to anyone who does social work inside Burma.
‘Presently, there are many Burmese living in foreign countries. On the other hand, many Burmese inside Burma are making sacrifices for the sake of the people. Earlier, we dare not honour formally those great people because we were worried that we could not go back to Burma safely. In fact, in comparison with the efforts of those great people, our sacrifices are nothing. So, at least, we should honour those great people formally’, said one of the organizers.
Last year, Burmese from 54 countries participated in the online voting and the committee received about 300,000 electronic votes.
Last year, the prize was US $7,000. This year, the winner will be awarded US $10,000. The money is donated by Burmese people across the world.
The online poll will be conducted from May 4 to May 14 at the www.citizenofburma.org website. In the poll, one IP Address can cast at most 10 votes per day.
The committee will announce the winner during a ceremony held in San Francisco, United States on May 15.