THE 12TH Gusi Peace Prize laureates paid a courtesy call on UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. last Nov. 26 at the Main Building to “explore the possibility of establishing linkages.”

The 17 recipients include a Thomasian, former Architecture and Fine Arts dean Yolanda Reyes who credited the University for her success in the field.

Dagohoy said the laureates' presence in the University was a “great and prestigious gift.”

“As a Catholic University, it’s our privilege to welcome and acknowledge their presence. Many of them are actually connected with universities abroad so I think this is a great opportunity to explore the possibility of establishing linkages and tie-ups with our counterparts in Africa and Europe,” Dagohoy said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

The annual Gusi Peace Prize is a Manila-based award-giving body that recognizes individuals or groups worldwide that have contributed to the attainment of peace and respect for human dignity through their achievements in the fields of the academe, scientific research and discovery, physiology or medicine, chemistry, physics, journalism, philanthropy or humanitarianism, economics, cinematic excellence, performing arts, visual arts, engineering technology, religion, politics, poverty alleviation, literature, cultural heritage, architecture, and others.

Aside from Reyes, other laureates this year are Rajkeswur Purryag, president of Mauritius; Emil Constantinescu, former president of Romania; Arnold Ruutel, former president of Estonia; Al-Saddig Al-Saddig Abdel Rahman Al-Mahdi, former prime minister of Sudan; Prof. Abdelmadjid Amrani of Algeria; Catherine Dupe Atoki of Nigeria; Prof. Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis of Greece; Francisco Plancarte of Mexico; Dr. Glen Martin of the United States; Dr. Raoul Weiler of Belgium; Dr. Igor Kondrashin of Russia; Aboubakar Abdoulah Senghore of Gambia; Dr. Orhan Guvenen of Turkey; Malek Jandali of Syria; Prof. Frans Jacobus Viljoen of South Africa; and Prince Abdullah Karim Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

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Reyes, who was dean of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts from 1991 to 2000, said that more than her training in UST, Christian values helped mold her character as an architect.

“I am what I am because of this University. I continue to uphold the teachings of Christian life that I have learned from the University,” she said.

Reyes co-designed the Beato Angelico Building, the Thomas Aquinas Research Center, the Benavides Cancer Institute, and the Caleruega Retreat Center in Batangas.

Former Sudanese premier Al-Mahdi said he was pleased to visit the oldest university in Asia. “It feels [good] to find out that it is not only restricted to Catholics or to people of the Philippines,” the Sudanese laureate said.

Nigerian women’s rights activist Atoki said the Gusi prize puts a spotlight on the human rights campaign in the African Union. “It’s an international recognition for the African Uniton in the fight for the human rights of the African continent,” said the Nigerian laureate.

The Gusi Peace Prize was founded by Barry Gusi, who wanted to honor his late father Gemeniano Gusi, a World War II guerrilla.

The Gusi Peace Prize Foundation “envisions itself to approximate the honor and respect accorded to the Nobel Peace Prize of Norway, and the Pulitzer of the United States of America.” Jon Christoffer R. Obice

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