Dharma Master Cheng Yen (right) Receives 2011 FDR Distinguished Public Service Award from Anna E. Roosevelt (left)
On Sunday, October 9, the 2011 FDR Distinguished Public Service Award was presented to Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation, by Roosevelt Institute board chair Anna E. Roosevelt, in the Jing Si Hall, Hualien, Taiwan. It was the first time the award was bestowed outside of the United States.
The award ceremony was held in the Jing Si Hall, located in Hualien, Taiwan. The Roosevelt Institute is located in New York; Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (granddaughter of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt); Andrew Rich, President and CEO; and David Hsu, a member of the Institute’s board of directors, traveled thousands miles to present this award.
In the beginning of Ms. Roosevelt’s speech, she mentioned “leadership that not only inspired hope, but was born of hope; leadership based on the belief — as Franklin Roosevelt believed — that devotion to the public good, unselfish service, never-ending consideration of human need, are in themselves conquering forces.” Those values and beliefs Franklin Roosevelt are also those in which same as Master Cheng Yen believed.
Ms. Roosevelt praised that Master Cheng Yen for leading Tzu Chi volunteers around the world to overcome obstacles of distance, politics, and culture. Tzu Chi has established a remarkable record of achievement: building hospitals for the sick; homes for the homeless, and bringing hope and relief to hundreds of thousands in the wake of the 2004 and 2011 tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan; after the devastation of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans; and in the terrible hours and days following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen received the award in person. She thanked the Roosevelt Institute for on recognized the Tzu Chi Foundation. In her letter of acceptance, she mentioned that “tens of thousands of Tzu Chi volunteers humbly and silently work for environmental protection in their communities; they are the ones who deserve the most outstanding public service award. Tzu Chi members are not afraid of difficulties; they enter areas of calamity to give relief and to comfort the victims, while our medical doctors provide free clinics and free medicines not only to alleviate the sufferings of the patients, but also to comfort them mentally psychologically. They are the a paradigm of human conscience and they deserve the most distinguished public service award.”
The Roosevelt Institute was founded in 1987. The FDR Distinguished Public Service Award, first presented in 2008, recognizes those who demonstrate a lifetime commitment to outstanding public service, The award and celebrates national leaders from all areas of civil society. This annual award recognizes outstanding public service, including the political leaders or leaders in humanitarian relief. It praises and heralds the value of their great contributions to the well-being of humanity.
The Tzu Chi Foundation has dedicated itself to these simple yet profound principles. Thanks to its adherence to these ideas, and to the compassionate vision of its founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, millions of people all over around the world have been able to embrace the hope and promise of a better life.