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Jack Ma, Malala Among Asia Society's 'Game Changer' Honorees

Inaugural winners, including Jack Ma and Malala Yousafzai, were named to address a "glaring gap" in global awards recognizing change-makers in Asia.
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“Asia Society is proud to establish the first awards to honor the true ‘game changers’ in Asia today,” said Asia Society President Josette Sheeran, “The awards are designed to fill a glaring gap—a lack of recognition of people who are truly transforming ideas into action and improving lives in Asia.”

The inaugural group of thirteen Asia Game Changers was selected from 130 individuals and institutions nominated by Asia Society’s global network. Their work spans multiple approaches, countries, and disciplines, with projects as varied as designing emergency refugee housing, providing light for homes without electricity, making education more equitable, providing innovative medical access, media, and creative philanthropy.

“One individual stood out in our selection process,” said Sheeran, “The truly game-changing nature of Jack Ma's company Alibaba, and his philanthropic vision for China, have made him our Asia Game Changer of the Year.”

“The Asia Game Changer awards are very special to me because the Asia Society has always supported my work," said honoree and documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. "In fact my very first screening of my first film was held at the Asia Society in New York in 2003! So I feel like I have come full circle! I've always wanted to take up issues that force people to have difficult conversations and such exposure and recognition is very humbling; it greatly helps in spreading the message of my films.”

In a statement to NBC News, education activist Malala Yousafzai said, "I salute my fellow honorees and everyone committed to making the world a better place. If we want change, we must be the change."

The complete list of "Game Changers" can be seen here.