Myanmar President Thein Sein won the "Pursuit of Peace Award" from the International Crisis Group along with former Brazilian president Luiz Lula at a ceremony in New York on Monday.
Aung Min, vice-chairman of the Union Level Peace Implementation Working Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the president.
“We receive the peace prize as we – all Myanmar people – are marching toward a new independent democratic country. It is associated with those who joined hands with me, those currently joining me and all other participating parties in the democratisation process.
“If there is no democracy, there will be no peace. Those coming to Myanmar with the new hope of democracy are warmly and heartily welcomed. Democracy is not just a hope or an ideology. Good democratic habits are to be firmly built. It is important not encroach on individual freedom or block opportunities for others. We all need to be open-minded.
“Now we can do practically everything that was just imaginary in the past. In this situation, it is necessary to change all possibilities to ensure the practical interests of the country. The international community and Myanmar citizens are to join us on a journey of Myanmar’s reform process,” the president said in a video clip sent to the award ceremony.
Previous recipients of the award include former US presidents Bill Clinton and George HW Bush, Nobel Peace Prize laureates Martti Ahtisaari and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and financier-philanthropist George Soros.
The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.