$1 Million Opus Prize Finalists Announced
Seattle, Wash. (Sept. 9, 2008) — Seattle University and the Opus Prize Foundation today announced three finalists for the $1 million 2008 Opus Prize, one of the world’s largest humanitarian service awards. Guided by faith and an entrepreneurial spirit, Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse, Krishnammal Jagannathan and Michael Woodard are working throughout the world to give people the tools to transform their lives.
The Opus Prize is a $1 million dollar award and two $100,000 awards recognizing unsung heroes creating lasting social change and inspiring others to do the same. The 2008 winner will be announced at a public ceremony hosted by Seattle University on Nov. 18, 2008 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Wash. Tickets are available by contacting Seattle University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs at 206.296.2634 or GCA@seattleu.edu.
“This is a great opportunity for Seattle University, the Opus Prize Foundation and the greater Seattle community to honor faith-based humanitarian work around the world and highlight our mission at the university of educating leaders for a just and humane world,” said Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. “We are proud to showcase great humanitarians and to provide our students an incredible educational opportunity to meet these inspiring individuals.”
Selected for their social entrepreneurship, transformational leadership and commitment to faith and service, the 2008 Opus Prize award recipients are:
Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse, founder of Maison Shalom in Ruyigi, Burundi
Krishnammal Jagannathan, founder of Land for Tillers’ Freedom (LAFTI) in Tamil Nadu, India
Michael Woodard, founder of Jubilee House Community and the Center for Development of Central America in Managua, Nicaragua
The 2008 Opus Prize event will recognize all three of this year’s award recipients for their faith-based humanitarian efforts and each will be given an award for their entrepreneurial leadership. The three Opus Prize award recipients will be narrowed down to one faith-based humanitarian leader who will be given a $1 million award for use within his or her organization. The other two leaders will each receive $100,000 finalist awards. The decision will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
As part of the Opus Prize partnership with Seattle University, and guided by SU’s mission of “empowering leaders for a just and humane world,” students will be given the opportunity to learn more about social entrepreneurship from the award recipients themselves. The Opus Prize finalists will speak to the SU community about their humanitarian work on Nov. 19 at the university’s Mission Day, an annual campus-wide gathering and discussion about Seattle University's Jesuit Catholic mission.
Seattle University’s yearlong process to select the three award recipients began with a confidential selection process, much like the MacArthur Fellowships, in which anonymous nominators put names forward. That list was given careful consideration by a jury of top civic leaders in Washington State, led by Fr. Sundborg, and the recommendation was forwarded to the Opus Prize Foundation for final decision.
For additional information about the Nov. 18 Opus Prize announcement and the award recipients, visit www.seattleu.edu/opusprize.
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