Indonesian President Joko Widodo has presented the ASEAN Award trophy to two laureates at the opening ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit. The ceremony was attended by the leaders of ASEAN, the Jakarta-based diplomatic corps and guests.

ASEAN officially awarded the 2023 ASEAN Prize to Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, a regional advocate for women’s socio-economic empowerment from Vietnam, in recognition of her efforts to advance women’s economic inclusion through business. Also receiving his award was last year’s ASEAN Prize laureate Haji Muhammad Iqbal Fakhri bin Haji Damit, a youth advocate and community leader from Brunei, for his humanitarian aid initiatives, which have inspired greater youth involvement. Last year, the award ceremony was held online due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

In his congratulatory speech, ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn recognized the laureates’ service and dedication to the region as key ingredients on the path to ASEAN integration. Dr. Kao stated that “ASEAN deeply appreciates the high-impact services provided by 2022 ASEAN Prize laureate Mr. Iqbal Damit and 2023 Prize laureate Ms. Nguyen Minh. His contributions have significantly contributed to raising awareness of ASEAN and its identity. The ASEAN Award is a tribute to the outstanding contributions and services rendered to the region by these exemplary ASEAN citizens.”

Nguyen Minh, winner of the ASEAN Prize 2023

Nguyen Minh has led several key regional initiatives and has advised on policies for the region’s business ecosystem, in line with his aspiration for a sustainable economy and an inclusive community.

Her determination to promote the socio-economic empowerment of women has been demonstrated by various initiatives and efforts to connect communities of women entrepreneurs across the region and establish a solid foundation for regional partnership and cooperation among pioneering women leaders in the business sector.

As the founder of the ASEAN Business Women’s Network (AWEN) in 2014, Nguyen Minh has become a pioneering force behind promoting regional cooperation and integration. Through AWEN, she has successfully organized a business community in the region, thereby facilitating the seamless exchange of knowledge, fostering business collaboration, and advocating for higher standards among ASEAN member states. She is also the founder and current President of an independent women-owned business in Vietnam, known as WeLead.

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Receiving the 2023 ASEAN Prize, Nguyen Minh, said: “I am deeply honored and grateful to have been chosen as the 2023 ASEAN Prize laureate. This award goes beyond recognition of my work, but also serves as a testament to the collective effort from Vietnam, AWEN and all my partners. This honor further fuels my commitment to furthering the mission of AWEN and WeLead, advancing the economic empowerment of women throughout Vietnam and ASEAN.”

Iqbal Damit, winner of the ASEAN Award 2022

For his part, Iqbal Damit has played a decisive role in humanitarian aid initiatives for affected populations. As the founder of the Brunei Darussalam-based non-profit organization Hand4Hand, Iqbal Damit advocates for youth volunteering to support humanitarian aid delivery and emergency responses in the region and beyond.

Iqbal Damit has stated: “I am immensely grateful for the ASEAN Award. I am especially grateful to the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for their continued support. I would like to dedicate this award to all the volunteers in ASEAN and around the world, especially Brunei Darussalam, who have dedicated a huge part of their life, time and energy to making the world a better place for everyone. May God bless us all and give us persistence and strength to continue doing all this humanitarian and charitable work.”

Lim Hock Chuan, Director of Programs at the Temasek Foundation, said: “Congratulations to Iqbal Damit and Nguyen Minh on being the 2022 and 2023 ASEAN Prize Laureates. They inspire us to step up and address the needs of our communities, however daunting the undertaking. We hope their continued efforts will help us build a more people-centred, inclusive and resilient ASEAN.”

At the same time, Dato’ Shahira Ahmed Bazari, founder and trustee of Yayasan Hasanah, also warmly congratulated the 2022 and 2023 ASEAN Prize laureates. “The progress made by the ASEAN Prize laureates in promoting social inclusion they resonate deeply with our mission at Yayasan Hasanah to foster an inclusive and progressive Malaysian society. Collaborating with like-minded partners, just like these inspiring winners, we are committed to empowering underserved communities. A key tenet of our belief is that tangible progress thrives when all sectors of society are equipped with crucial resources and empowered. However, it is the ASEAN Award winners that really shine.”

“His dedication to driving social inclusion exemplifies our shared values. His work underscores that progress flourishes through empowerment and affects all segments of society. We are honored to continue supporting the ASEAN Prize, a platform that rightfully recognizes these exceptional people, the everyday heroes who actively shape our collective future,” he added.

Administered by the ASEAN Secretariat and supported by the Temasek Foundation of Singapore and Yayasan Hasanah of Malaysia, the ASEAN Award is a premier annual regional award to honor individuals or organizations in ASEAN who have made outstanding contributions and efforts. significant to foster the process of building the community in the region. Each of the laureates will receive the ASEAN Award trophy and a cash prize of $20,000.


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