Devoted ecologist Chen Yueh-fong (陳玉峰), veteran writer Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政), Buddhist Master Sheng Yen (聖嚴法師) and two groups yesterday were announced as winners of this year's Presidential Cultural Awards which is the nation's highest prize awarded to an individual or organization in culture, society, community and the environment.
"President Chen Shui-bian (
"The awards recognize individuals or organizations which hold such beliefs and continue to promote such values, and which have made substantial contributions," Huang added.
The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, winner of the Sun Award, has been devoted to helping poor or abused children with financial assistance and in finding foster families since 1950. The fund has also extended its reach beyond Taiwan and helped unfortunate children in 29 countries, the NCA said.
The Hsin-Kang Foundation of Culture & Education, winner of the Jade Mountain Award, is the first non-government organization to fund "holistic community building." The foundation's Chiayi project has been a role model for other communities in Taiwan.
Chen Yueh-fong, winner of the Papilio Xuthus Award, is the chief of the Ecological Research Center of Taiwan for environmental protection and ecological preservation.
Chen Yueh-fong is in the vanguard of research in ecology and the initiator of narrated presentations at national parks. Chen Yueh-fong was also famous for bluntly criticizing the government's environmental policies.
* Winner of the Papilio Xuthus Award ecologist Chen Yueh-fong runs and established Ecological Research Center of Taiwan.
* The Lily Award went to 79 year-old Chung Chao-cheng, who has written 22 novels.
* Winner of the Bodhi Award Master Sheng Yen is founder of the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Foundation for the societal harmony and international peace.
* The awards allow the president to recognize contributors in society.
Chen Yueh-fong established the Graduate School of the Ecology Department at Providence University and the ecological center which he heads.
"This award should belong to all who are dedicated to the cause of environmental protection for the past 20-plus years and to those who were labeled `controversial.' In fact, they were most courageous warriors. They dared to challenge the powers that frustrated their ideals," Chen Yueh-fong said in his acceptance speech.
"This award also proves that the government values the natural environment, but there is still a lot of room for improvement," Chen Yueh-fong said.
"I will keep on fighting," he said.
The Lily Award went to 79-year-old Chung who is the harbinger of the Taiwanese literature movement since 1950.
Chung has written 22 novels containing the motif of Taiwanese consciousness and self-identity during the Japanese-occupation and has dedicated his life to promoting Taiwanese literature.
"Looking back, my literature journey has been so long and so hard. But I am still in pain as a result of the literary work I have created for Taiwan," Chung said yesterday.
The Bodhi Award awarded to Sheng Yen, the founder of the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Foundation for the societal harmony and international peace.
"What we do is like fire fighting. It's effective but the flames are too violent. We hope more people can join us and I believe this is the ultimate goal of the Presidential Cultural Awards," Sheng Yen said yesterday.
The award ceremony will be held in early November and each awardee will receive NT$1 million, a certificate and a statuette conferred by President Chen Shui-bian in the Presidential Office, according to the NCA.