AMDA International (Association of Medical Doctors of Asia)
Reasons for award presentation:
“AMDA International” (hereinafter AMDA) is the first United Nations medical NGO established in Japan. It is actively expanding its medical and humanitarian support activities that aim to improve the life conditions of those underpriviledged and marginalized people who are victims of war, natural disasters and poverty in Asia, Africa and Central South America.
AMDA was founded in 1984 and taking their cues from the establishment of a network with the medical students from each Asian country, it carried out its first mission in Okayama, Japan. At present, it has 31 Chapters (branches), 28 project offices throughout the world and is operating 44 projects in 14 countries. In the past 20 years, AMDA gave about 50 countries the impression of Japan’s active role in international contribution.
AMDA’s operating activities are based on three principles: “respect for the culture of others”, “respect for the innate capacity of communities to help themselves” and “respect for the trust bestowed on AMDA by others”. These principles form the base of spontaneous diversity and contribute to promote the realization of peace.
Furthermore, “medical peace”, as proposed by AMDA, is a concept which aims to minimize disputes through international medical cooperation, and contributes to a peace process whereby the two disputing parties are provided with peace and human security support through humanitarian assistance activities in the form of medical treatment.
With the case of humanitarian aid for the Kurdish victims in the 1991 Gulf War as a start, AMDA began to conduct its activities in accordance with their philosophy: “if needed, we will go anywhere to help”. The achievement of AMDA’s operational activities has established trust among all nations.
AMDA’s multi-national group of doctors, which is based on an international network, rushes off first to help those people who are facing unexpected misfortunes and provide immediate support to ease victim’s anxiety. It also saved precious lives and gave hope of reconstruction.
As another feature of AMDA’s operations - medical insurance, education and improving environmental living standards and so on are the kinds of support activities that are being expanded world-wide. For example, they fight against serious problems such as HIV; priority is given to people’s needs, and activities are being carried out continuously until people can become independent in prospect.
In order to carry out their volunteering operations smoothly in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, AMDA played a leading role in Japan. Also they put in plenty of effort in the area of human resource development for the next generation by organizing study tours and so on.
The initial healthcare-orientated activities are also being expanded into several different fields now. This reflects the generous spirit of appreciating the feeling of those who want to be helpful and is rooted in AMDA’s philosophy. This is also connected with the role of AMDA in which the volunteers or the people who were asked to volunteer value the lives and the pride of every human being.
The Okinawa Peace Prize Selection Committee has chosen AMDA, who has been promoting the realization of peace, non-violence and human security not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also at a world scale as the most suitable organization to win the Second Okinawa Peace Prize.
The spirit of “mutual support” and the aim of creating a “pluralistic society” are the fundamental principles of AMDA’s activities that reflect the historical and cultural characteristics of Okinawa Prefecture, and thus are linked to the definition of the Okinawa Peace Prize - a prize designed as a form of contribution to the creation of eternal peace.
Having overcome the difficult pre-war and post-war periods, Okinawa will continue to support AMDA’s future activities and therefore would like to present the Second Okinawa Peace Prize to AMDA.
2nd Okinawa Peace Prize Selection Committee
Chairperson Leona Esaki (Shibaura Institute of Technology, President)
Hiroko Sho (University of the Ryukyus Emeritus Professor)
Moshin Morita (University of the Ryukyus, President)
Katsuji Ebisawa (Japan Broadcasting Corporation, President)
Gregory Clark (Tama University, President Emeritus)
Kinhide Mushakoji (Osaka University of Economics and Law Center for Asia Pacific Partnership, Director)
Kuniko Inoguchi (Sophia University, Professor of political science)