For more than sixty years, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, known as the “Nobel Prize for Asia,” has been the premier prize and highest honor bestowed upon Asian individuals and organizations whose selfless services benefit their societies, Asia, and the world. The award celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia. Recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award have tackled some of the most challenging human development issues of their time.
Today, with heartfelt and enthusiastic congratulations we honor our colleague Dr. Firdausi Qadri of icddr,b. She is well deservingly one of the 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Award winners. Dr. Qadri has dedicated her career to discovering vaccines that have impacted—and saved—millions of lives. She is a stalwart champion in the fight against cholera and typhoid. The progress made in developing and delivering oral cholera vaccine and typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) is undoubtedly thanks to her hard work, persistence, and focus on reducing the burden of these diseases. Her work has helped millions not only in Bangladesh, but also in other Asian and African countries with limited access to safe water and improved sanitation.
Dr. Qadri has worked for decades to improve the lives of others. Today, in honor of her work, passion, and dedication, we have gathered quotes from a few of Dr. Qadri’s current and former colleagues to offer our congratulations.
Dr. Qadri, we are awed by your work and service to the typhoid community. Your work during the past decades is undoubtedly a contributor to the recent progress made with World Health Organization-prequalified TCVs and country introduction of TCV. Thank you for your work, collaboration, mentorship, and unending energy to improve the lives of others.
Dr. Qadri has been a pioneer in the field of mucosal immunology in response to enteric pathogens, particularly Vibrio cholerae and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Dr. Qadri is an outstanding mentor and teacher of the next generation. Having done collaborative international biomedical research myself now for more than 25 years, I can easily say that Dr. Qadri is the most outstanding researcher, mentor, and teacher it has been my privilege to work with in the international setting. Dr. Stephen B. Calderwood, Morton N. Swartz, MD Academy Professor of Medicine (Microbiology), Harvard Medical School
The Ramon Magsaysay award, often known as the Asian “Nobel Prize”, is given for outstanding contributions in government and public service. This is an extraordinary and well-deserved honor that whole-heartedly encompasses Shahla’s incredible career. The icddr,b team congratulates her on winning this “uber” award. Dr. John Clemens, Senior Scientific Advisor, International Vaccine Institute and former Executive Director, icddr,b
Congratulations to Dr. Qadri! This is wonderful recognition of her insights and accomplishments in the vaccine field, which has saved and improved many lives. Dr. Qadri is an inspiration, and her work will continue to impact many future generations to come. This award is so well-deserved. I am so proud to work with and know Dr. Qadri. Dr. Denise Garrett, Vice President, Applied Epidemiology, Sabin Vaccine Institute
Dr. Qadri is a visionary scientist who has moved mountains to make vaccines for cholera and typhoid available for those who need them the most. Her efforts to ensure the availability of cholera vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable people, like the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals, have already saved countless lives. I truly don’t know how she has been able to accomplish so much, but she is more than just an amazing scientist. She has incredible empathy, and perhaps most of all, where others see insurmountable obstacles, Dr. Qadri sees opportunities to help alleviate suffering. Dr. Jason Harris, Harvard University
Dr. Qadri’s research is distinguished by her ability to perform translational research that utilizes laboratory science to create a detailed body of knowledge that directly informs our understanding of the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, and prevention of the specific pathogen. This is a talent that creates the most effective scientists in the field of infectious disease. Dr. Qadri is an amazing woman; her grace, knowledge, and competence are unparalleled, as is the good she has done for public health. Dr. Karen Kotloff, Division Health, Pediatric & Infections Diseases and Tropical Medicine, and Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Dr. Qadri has been a trusted colleague of mine for many years. She is one of the most dedicated, passionate, and accomplished women in the vaccine development field. Dr. Qadri is a testament to what can be accomplished with grit, determination, and a commitment to making the world a better place. Dr. Qadri is not only a brilliant scientist, but also an advocate and champion for improved access to health care and to ameliorating the lives of those at risk of preventable diseases such as typhoid and cholera. Her mentorship for early career scientists has inspired the next generation of researchers and champions for health equity. I can think of no one more deserving of this award and I am honored to know and work with Dr. Qadri. Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, TyVAC Director and Director, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Dr. Qadri is quite simply a force of nature. Her sustained and highly impactful work on cholera, typhoid, enterotoxigenic E. coli, vaccine development, vaccine deployment, and public health have been exemplary. Her work has made such a significant impact on the peoples of the world, especially in Asia. What a wonderful recognition of her groundbreaking work and accomplishments, including in capacity building and investing in people and the future. I can think of no more worthy a recipient. Dr. Edward T. Ryan, DTM&H, Director, Global Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital
“Dr. Qadri is quite simply a force of nature.”
I am so honored to count Dr. Firdausi Qadri among my friends. She is a truly inspiring public health scientist, combining insights from her immunology work in the lab, to work in the field to prove the value of vaccines, and advocacy to save hundreds of thousands of lives from cholera and typhoid. Congratulations on receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Shahla. Anita Zaidi, President, Gender Equality and Director, Vaccine Development and Surveillance, and Director, Enteric Diarrheal Diseases
This award is a right choice for her outstanding contribution for decades in the field of immunology and vaccine research to ascertain successful lifesaving solutions. Dr. K. Zaman, icddr,b, Bangladesh
You can watch Dr. Qadri’s acceptance speech here.
Photo: Dr. Qadri presenting at the 2019 International Conference on Typhoid & Other Salmonelloses held in Hanoi, Vietnam. Sabin Vaccine Institute.