ISLAMABAD: Cricketer Sana Mir and six other trailblazing women from Asian countries were honoured with the 2019 Asia Society Game Changers award at a glittering ceremony in New York on Thursday night in recognition of their transformative impact in Asia and beyond.
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“Sana Mir is first and foremost a true champion in her field, she’s also a champion for millions of girls and young women on the field and off,” Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, Asia Society Co-Chairperson, said while presenting her with the award.
“As a child growing up in Pakistan, Sana Mir saw few other girls — and even fewer women — playing the national sport: cricket. Refusing to let that stop her, Sana joined the country’s fledgeling women’s cricket team and went on to become its captain and eventually the top female cricketers in the world,” Ambassador Chan told large and distinguished guests at a top hotel.
Sana Mir, who is also an Asia 21 Young Leader, dedicated her award to those standing up for climate change, to women helping each other, and, particularly, to children of war-torn nations.
“My prayer today is that the leaders of today and tomorrow see the world through the lens of the child, the way the child sees the world, so we can safeguard their rights without regard to the colour of their skin, race, religion, or nationality,” she said.
“Alhamdolillah! I’m truly humbled and honoured to receive this award alongside amazing world leaders,’ Sana Mir told APP afterwards. “I’m super proud to represent my country and the sport of cricket.”
The other awardees include Japan’s Yuriko Koike, the current and first female governor of Tokyo, China’s Jane Jie Sun, the leader of Ctrip, a 25-billion dollar travel company in China, Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a pioneer in the art-world who has promoted greater cultural understanding and exchange in the Middle East and around the world, and Chhaya Sharma, a senior Indian police officer who leads a team of investigators to solve some of New Delhi’s toughest crimes.
The Kung Fu Nuns, a group of Buddhist nuns who have harnessed their mastery of martial arts and are also widely known for their social activism and humanitarian work are also among those chosen for the award.
The Asia Society is the leading educational organisation dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among people, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.
It’s Game Changers award identifies and honours true leaders who are making a positive contribution to the future of Asia.
It was the first time that all the awardees are women since the awards were launched in 2014.
Former Asia Game Changers include Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, internet entrepreneur Jack Ma, actor and activist Dev Patel, Aga Khan, and other inspirational figures spanning the realms of policy, business, science, arts and culture, education and technology.
Earlier, at a panel discussion, conducted by Tom Nagorski, executive vice president of the Asia Society, Sana Mir spoke about how her parents supported her as she pursued her interest in cricket under difficult circumstances at a time when the infrastructure for women to play the game was practically non-existent. “My father and mother stood by me,” she said.
Women cricket was now expanding in Pakistan and more and more girls were playing the game, she said.