THE PATH TO PEACE AWARD RECIPIENTS
1995 - Her Excellency Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino
Her Excellency Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino, as President of the Republic of the Philippines (1986-1992), restored a peaceful return to democracy for the Filipino people, and after reestablishing democratic institutions there, she oversaw their implementation so as to bring about substantive economic and social reforms. She presided over the difficult transition from a dictatorship to a democracy and ushered in a peaceful transfer of power to her successor, President Fidel V. Ramos, after a clean and fair Presidential election.
Mrs. Aquino was widowed of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. who, as a champion for the cause of democracy, served as Opposition leader until his assassination at Manila International Airport on 21 August 1983. He had been jailed for nearly eight years upon declaration of martial law in 1972. As a result of her husband's murder, Mrs. Aquino became the symbolic head of a growing movement against the existing regime.
As President of the Philippines she moved quickly to implement her campaign pledges to free political prisoners, open dialogues with Communist insurgents that were spreading their influence in the provinces, dismantle agricultural monopolies and draft a new constitution. To revitalize the nation's economy she turned to the private sector for assistance.
Corazon Aquino was born in Manila on 25 January 1933 and was educated in exclusive schools for girls in Manila before departing to the United States, where she completed her high school and college education. She graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, New York, having majored in French with a minor in Mathematics. Upon her return to the Philippines, she pursued further studies in Law until her marriage to Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. The couple had five children, all of whom live in the Philippines.
Mrs. Aquino has received numerous honorary degrees from Universities in the Philippines, the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She was named Time Magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1986. Additionally, she has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, the Noel Award for Political Leadership by the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the 1993 Special Peace Award from the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Awards Foundation and Concerned Women of the Philippines.
Presently she serves as chairperson of the Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation, as well as chairperson of the Board of Advisers of the Metrobank Foundation. The Aquino Foundation is involved in programs benefiting the poor and disadvantaged, by sponsoring scholarships, aiding victims of the Mount Pinatubo eruption and assisting cooperatives by providing them with corporate planning and linkage assistance.
Mrs. Aquino is also co-president of the Forum of Democratic Leaders together with Dr. Kim Dae Jung of South Korea and former President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica. On 2 December 1994 she read the paper of Aung San Sun Kyi before the Forum of Democratic Leaders in Seoul, Korea.