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Bangsamoro Women’s Movement and Visa and Visa Foundation Honored at 2024 Lotus Leadership Awards

New York, April 25, 2024 — The Asia Foundation today hosted the 2024 Lotus Leadership Awards Gala at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The Leadership Awards are an initiative of the Lotus Circle, a group of generous supporters of The Asia Foundation’s women’s empowerment program, through which outstanding individuals and organizations are recognized for their contributions to women’s and girls’ empowerment and gender equality in Asia and the Pacific. This twelfth Awards Gala honors the Bangsamoro Women’s Movement for their courageous contributions to enduring peace in the Philippines, together with Visa and Visa Foundation, for their support of women’s economic development.

Decades of violent conflict in Mindanao shattered lives across all communities, with women especially suffering. The Bangsamoro Women’s Movement played a brave and important role in the struggle for peace and self-determination, pushing for meaningful implementation of the 2014 peace agreement. They successfully advocated for the creation of a new special form of self-governance called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Women leaders have since been appointed to its Parliament and Cabinet, upending gender norms that barred women from positions of political leadership for generations.

Visa and Visa Foundation are receiving the award for their commitment to women’s economic empowerment through initiatives that support women-led businesses and women entrepreneurs with digital and financial skills development. Since 2020, this partnership with The Asia Foundation has benefitted thousands of micro, small, and medium business owners and women job seekers in Asia, including in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The Lotus Circle is a vibrant and diverse community of philanthropists that supports The Asia Foundation in its work to strengthen economic, social, and political rights and opportunities for women and girls in Asia and the Pacific. Drawing on the knowledge and networks of its 17 country offices, work in more than 20 countries, and local partners, the Foundation strategically invests Lotus Circle Funds to transform the lives of women, girls, and their communities.

The Asia Foundation thanks our generous supporters: Visionary sponsor Visa and Visa Foundation, and Champion sponsors Winnie C. and Michael Feng, Lin and Stephen Jamison, Yumi and Eiichiro Kuwana, Janet Middleton Montag, and Hee-Jung and John Moon.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by seven decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region focuses on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment and climate action, and regional and international relations. 

Read more about the Foundation’s work and learn more about our work in the Philippines

For media inquiries, please visit our News Room.

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Related locations: New York
Related programs: Lotus Circle, Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
[email protected]

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