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Seattle University in Partnership With the Opus Prize Foundation Award $1 Million Opus Prize
Date:11/18/2008

SEATTLE, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Seattle University and the Opus Prize Foundation today awarded the $1 million Opus Prize to Marguerite "Maggy" Barankitse for her work providing safe havens to 30,000 child victims of ethnic strife in Burundi, Africa. Two $100,000 winners also were honored. Michael Woodard, founder of Jubilee House Community and Center for the Development of Central America, who has spent 15 years creating self-sufficiency from poverty in Nicaragua and Krishnammal Jagannathan, founder of Land for Tillers' Freedom, who has spent 40 years fighting for land rights and the self-empowerment of women in Tamil Nadu, India.

"Seattle University is clear about its mission: empowering leaders for a just and humane world," says University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. "Bringing these unsung heroes to our campus is a great opportunity to honor their work and provide our students an incredible educational experience by meeting inspiring individuals. Something is coming about from our students being global citizens and reaching out across the world to reach other people. My vision is that our students learn their own humanity through knowing more of humanity."

Barankitse founded Maison Shalom in 1993 as a home for 25 children orphaned after a violent attack by ethnic Tutsis, and the organization has grown into a multi-service agency helping to heal and support young people and families. Today, 500 small houses nurture and support children so they may be reintegrated into loving families, and Maison Shalom recently opened a hospital.

Woodard has reinvigorated lagging economies in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua and surrounding areas through education, micro-credit, agriculture and technology initiatives, Jagannathan has elevated the social status and acceptance of the Dalits -- some of the India's poorest residents -- through housing and farmland provisions and negotiated land su
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SOURCE Opus Prize Foundation
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