Dr. Cynthia wins Sydney Peace Prize

Mae Tao Clinic
Dr. Cynthia at the Mae Tao Clinic

Dr. Cynthia wins one of Australia's most prestigious awards, but is about to lose its government's support! The Mae Tao Clinic provides critical medical treatment to thousands with the help of Australian aid — but the government will not be continuing it's funding beyond December 2013. Email the Australian foreign minister here!

Congratulations to longtime CPI partner Dr. Cynthia Maung, who is the 2013 Sydney Peace Prize “for her dedication to multi-ethnic democracy, human rights and the dignity of the poor and dispossessed, and for establishing health services for victims of conflict,” said the prize jury citation. “Dr. Maung has advanced the cause of peace in the Asia-Pacific region and upheld the best humanitarian and ethical traditions of the medical profession.”

Dr. Cynthia, an ethnic Karen, fled Myanmar during the pro-democracy uprising of 1988 and set up the Mae Tao Clinic on the Thailand- Myanmar border, where more than 150,000 refugees, migrant workers and orphans receive preventive care, trauma and maternal child health services they would otherwise have to do without.

Dr. Cynthia delivered the annual City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture on Nov. 6, 2013 at the Sydney Town Hall, and received the award, a $50,000 prize, at gala dinner at University of Sydney the next evening.

The award, she told Radio Australia, helps highlight the plight of refugees displaced by not just conflicts, but also economic development in Myanmar.

“Almost thirty percent of population in Burma are ethnic people, and seventy percent are people living in very remote areas. So even with the democratic reform and political change in Burma is on the move, but until now, we haven't seen much changes for these vulnerable people. There has been on going ceasefire talks, but on the ground, the actual situation people are still suffering, (and have no access) to health services,” she said. “The clinic not only provides patient services, but also is a key training center for health workers along the Thailand-Burma border. It's an opportunity for ethnic groups to have a strong network, to improve the health system in their own community.

For the full Radio Australia report, click here