Preah Maha Ghosananda
Leading role in reconciling a country torn by war
The 1992 Rafto Prize was awarded to the Venerable Preah Maha Ghosananda (1929-2007) for his tireless work to help restore the nation state and bring peace to Cambodia.
Preah Maha Ghosananda was a Cambodian Buddhist monk who served as the Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism during the Khmer Rouge period and post-communist transition period of his country’s history. Ghosananda served as a representative of the Cambodian nation-in-exile to the United Nations and was influential in peace talks throughout the 1980s. In the early 1990s he led a series of Dhammayietra, or “Pilgrimages of Truth” which included dangerous journeys through many areas of Cambodia still under Khmer Rouge control.
In his unique position as spiritual leader, Ghosananda powerfully demonstrated the eminent humanitarian values of Buddhist ethics. He convincingly invoked the force of religious tradition, thus counteracting the intimidating and brutalising effects of political tyranny.
Ghosananda died in March, 2007.