Seattle University in Partnership With the Opus Prize Foundation Award $1 Million Opus Prize

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 General News
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SEATTLE, Nov. 18 Seattle University and the Opus PrizeFoundation today awarded the $1 million Opus Prize to Marguerite "Maggy"Barankitse for her work providing safe havens to 30,000 child victims ofethnic strife in Burundi, Africa. Two $100,000 winners also were honored.Michael Woodard, founder of Jubilee House Community and Center for theDevelopment of Central America, who has spent 15 years creatingself-sufficiency from poverty in Nicaragua and Krishnammal Jagannathan,founder of Land for Tillers' Freedom, who has spent 40 years fighting for landrights and the self-empowerment of women in Tamil Nadu, India.

"Seattle University is clear about its mission: empowering leaders for ajust and humane world," says University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J."Bringing these unsung heroes to our campus is a great opportunity to honortheir work and provide our students an incredible educational experience bymeeting inspiring individuals. Something is coming about from our studentsbeing global citizens and reaching out across the world to reach other people.My vision is that our students learn their own humanity through knowing moreof humanity."

Barankitse founded Maison Shalom in 1993 as a home for 25 childrenorphaned after a violent attack by ethnic Tutsis, and the organization hasgrown into a multi-service agency helping to heal and support young people andfamilies. Today, 500 small houses nurture and support children so they may bereintegrated into loving families, and Maison Shalom recently opened ahospital.

Woodard has reinvigorated lagging economies in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaraguaand surrounding areas through education, micro-credit, agriculture andtechnology initiatives, Jagannathan has elevated the social status andacceptance of the Dalits -- some of the India's poorest residents -- throughhousing and farmland provisions and negotiated land subsidies with the Indiangovernment.

"We are thrilled to be recognizing and supporting three amazingentrepreneurs for their transforming, faith-driven work throughout the world,"says Amy Sunderland, executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation. "Theseindividuals show us that change is possible. They are an inspiration to usall."

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About Seattle University

Seattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic universitylocated on 48 acres on Seattle's Capitol Hill. More than 7,500 students areenrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools. U.S.News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2009" ranks Seattle University amongthe top 10 universities in the West that offer a full range of masters andundergraduate programs.

About the Opus Prize Foundation

The Opus Prize is given annually to recognize unsung heroes of any faithtradition, anywhere in the world, solving today's most persistent socialproblems. Opus Prize winners combine a driving entrepreneurial spirit with anabiding faith to combat seemingly intractable global issues. The Opus PrizeFoundation is a private, independent philanthropy established by the OpusGroup, a national real estate development company. The prize is awardedthrough a partnership with a university or college as a way to inspire livesof service. The Opus Prize Foundation does not accept unsolicited nominations.

SOURCE Opus Prize Foundation

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