Maggy Barankitse is the 2008 Opus Prize Winner!
November 19, 2008
Seattle University announced today that a woman from Burundi, Africa will receive a $1 million humanitarian award from the Opus Prize Foundation.
Marguerite Barankitse heads an organization that cares for and houses orphans in Burundi. Many of the children are orphans of ethnic genocide, and Barankitse's program is being used as a model in other areas of Africa.
Barankitse was visibly elated today at a press conference announcing the award. She clapped her hands, laughed and hugged SU President Stephen Sundborg.
Speaking careful English, she told those assembled that people sometimes ask her if she is foolish to do the often dangerous work that she has done for 15 years.
"Be foolish like me," she said. "Don't be afraid to be foolish."
The Opus award is one of the largest faith-based humanitarian awards in the world. The foundation works with a university to administer the prize every year.
Students from SU traveled around the world to meet with finalists.
Barankitse told SU's student newspaper that she'll use the prize to build a hospital for orphaned children.