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Rev. Byamugisha of Uganda to Receive Niwano Peace Prize

TOKYO, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Niwano Peace Foundation announced Friday it will award the 26th Niwano Peace Prize to Rev. Canon Gideon Baguma Byamugisha, an Anglican priest of Uganda, in recognition of his work to uphold the dignity and human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

An award presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo on May 7. In addition to an award certificate, Rev. Byamugisha will receive a medal and 20 million yen.

Rev. Byamugisha, born in 1959, learned in 1991 that he was HIV positive. He was the first African priest to declare publicly that he himself was HIV positive, breaking one of the most important barriers in the struggle against HIV, or stigma-induced silence. He is canon of two cathedrals, one in Uganda and one in Zambia. He has helped to raise public awareness about the disease in a way that has brought distinction to religious and cultural communities in his own country, across the African continent, and on a global level.

In selecting Rev. Byamugisha as an awardee for 2009, the Peace Prize Committee said he "has turned personal suffering into a religious message of hope and courage and has matched it with constructive action," providing "inspiration and help to so many who have fallen victim to the HIV/AIDS pandemic." The committee also said he is "a representative of Africa, which makes our prize very balanced and just" and that his "personal and persistent courage, his love of and commitment to Africa, and his forthright willingness to address the difficult issues involved with HIV/AIDS make him an outstanding candidate."

Niwano Peace Prize

The Niwano Peace Prize was established in 1983 to honor and encourage individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to inter-religious understanding and cooperation, thereby furthering the cause of world peace. To avoid undue emphasis on any particular religion or region, nominations are solicited from people of recognized intellectual stature around the world.

Niwano Peace Foundation

The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to contribute to the realization of world peace and the enhancement of a culture of peace. The foundation promotes research and other activities based on a religious spirit, and serves the cause of peace in such fields as education, science, religion and philosophy.

    Mr. Tadashi Takatani
    Niwano Peace Foundation
    Tel: +81-3-3226-4371
    Fax: +81-3-3226-1835

SOURCE Niwano Peace Foundation
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