Mwape Peer Awards - Part 1
The 4th Mwape Peer Awads ceremony was held at the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel in New Jersey on October 12, 2013. Upon arrival, elegantly dressed guests enjoyed the magnificent waterfront views of the Manhattan skyline overlooking the Hudson River. The night consisted of the prestigious awards ceremony, a dinner dance and a memorable fashion show by Winnie Musonda Foundation. Check out my interview with the co-founder of Mwape Peer Awards, Mr James Mwape and the photo gallery of the event below.
Mwape Peer Awards is a non-profit organization based in New Jersey that was established in 2010 by James and Ruth Mwape. The main aim of the awards is to recognize “individuals who, without the benefit of visibility or influence, made a difference through his/her creativity, energy and sheer tenacity” (James Mwape). The awards are held annually in the second week of October and they honor Zambians around the world in the following categories: Banking, Economics, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneur, Law, Leadership, Professional, Mandela Award, Media, Medicine, Nurse, Public Sector, Research, Student, Talent, Woman (of the year).
Nominations for the awards run from April 1st through August 31st and they focus on individuals who have made significant contributions in their field of work. Winners are selected by the Selection Committee of Peers to reflect the significance roles they have taken in their respective fields.
Mr Mwape was kind enough to interview with me for this blog feature. Check out our interview below:
Can you tell me about your work/organization?
Mwape Peer Awards is a Non-Profit and Non-Political Organization based in New Jersey, USA. The Awards recognizes individuals in Zambia and the Diaspora who have played pivotal roles in their respective communities. It was founded in 2010 by James and Ruth Mwape. Inaugural awards ceremonies were held in Washington, DC at the Holiday Inn Hotel on October 20th, coinciding with the couple’s 20th Wedding Anniversary. The Awards ceremonies, which are held annually on the second Saturday in October at Columbia University Faculty House in New York City, USA, is a Symbol of Excellence and bring people from Zambia and around the world to celebrate each other’s achievements
Mission: To be the Symbol of Excellence that recognizes individuals who, without the benefit of visibility or influence, made a difference through his/her creativity, energy and sheer tenacity.
What are you most proud of about yourself?
I am proud of my family. God has blessed me with a wife of 23 years this month and we have three children. Natasha, 19 a second year Communications major in Boston area, James, Jr. 17, a high school senior and Simon,14, 10th grade. All were born in New York City. My wife, Ruth, and I have masters degrees from New York schools.
What or who inspires you?
My mother and my wife are my main inspiration. Mom was a single mother with little education but struggled to give us a good life. My wife has shown me what a noble and beautiful wife really looks like, and I don't have to look far.
What are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about highlighting the achievements of others. I first started with mwape.com website (offline now) where I listed highly educated Zambians outside Zambia, country by country from A-Z. The published “Mwape Who's Who Among Zambians, 2010 Collectors’ Limited Edition” which will be followed by the 2014 Edition and then the Mwape Peer Awards started in 2010.
How do you handle negative people in your life?
Humanly speaking, no one likes negativity. But we live in a real world where people tend to be negative even to something positive as what we are doing. I have been called names but my focus is on putting a smile on someone's face and seeing them feel appreciated for the work they are doing.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
It’s difficult to pin point on advice as the best as there are many great advice that I have received over the years. The Rev. William M. Robinson, Sr. my American father, told me that, "Whatever work you do, give it your very best".
Going forward, what do you hope to achieve in life?
I am a very simple person, my goal is just to find those deserving people who are out there doing good things and bring them to the attention of everyone and have them acknowledged.
What do you do when your plans do not succeed or go as planned?
The only people who haven't failed at anything, are those who haven't tried anything. Things don't always go as planned. The key is never to give up but to learn from it and see what can be changed in order to succeed.
What advice would you give anyone trying to do what you are doing at the moment?
Associate yourself with positive people, do not work in isolation. I am blessed with the support I get from lots of people, among them Cletus Ntimpa and Winnie Musonda who spend an incredible amount of time working with me.
What would you like people to know that they don’t know about you?
I am a people person and easily approachable. I also have a very good sense of humor.
What is the most important rule(s) that you live by?
Do unto others as you would like them to do to you and it's more blessed to give than to receive.
Any last words?
It doesn't take a lot of money to do good, just commitment, determination and dedication to what you are doing. When people see that you are committed, they will help. Thank you to all our supporters, who continue supporting our work with their finances and publicity.
Thank you Mr Mwape for taking the time to do this interview.
The following is a list of winners for The Mwape Peer Awards:
2013 Winners List
- 1. Community Leadership Awards: Dr. Bernard Mukwavi, (British Columbia, Canada),
- Leadership Award: Lubinda F. Walubita, PhD (Texas, USA)
- Nursing Excellence Awards: Christina Chewe Mulenga (Florida, USA)
- Rising Star Award: Erasmus Mweene (Lusaka, Zambia)
- Student of the Year Award: Pamela Mwiinde Mwenda (Pennsylvania, USA)
- Public Service Award: Maria Kasolo (Rome, Italy)
- Professional Leadership Award: Justina Mutale (London, UK)
2012 WINNERS LIST:
- Bankers Award: Joseph Chimpampwe (Zambia)
- Community Leadership Award: Margaret Phiri (Zambia)
- Leadership Award: Thandiwe Chihana (UK)
- Management Award: Beatrice Nkanza (Zambia)
- Music Award: Saboi Imboela (New Zealand)
- Professional Award: Kozhi Sydney Makai, PhD (Texas, USA)
- Journalist Award: Sanday Chongo Kabange (Hong Kong)
- Research Award: Zaza Ndhlovu, PhD (South Africa/USA)
- Talent: Rising Star Award: Winnie Musonda (New Jersey, USA)
2011 WINNERS LIST:
- Bankers Award: Caleb Fundanga, PhD (Lusaka, Zambia)
- Economics Award: Richard Mbewe, PhD (Warsaw, Poland)
- Engineering Award: Professor E. Clive Chirwa (UK)
- Journalism Award: Gershom Ndhlovu (UK)
- Law Award: Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Esq. (Toronto, Canada)
- Leadership Award: Ms. Adjoa Ameyaa Parker (Germany/USA)
- Physician Award: Dr. Edwin Mapara (UK)
- Research Award: Professor Thomson Sinkala (Lusaka, Zambia).
- Professional Award: Lungwami Muungo, PhD (Lusaka, Zambia)
- Rising Star Award: Ms. Rungano Nyoni (UK)
2010 WINNERS LIST:
- Community Leadership Award: Ms. Mbumwae Suba-Smith (New York, USA)
- Law Award: Professor Kenneth Kaoma Mwenda, PhD, LLD (Washington DC, USA)
- Leadership Award: Mr. Chisanga Puta-Chekwe (Ontario, Canada)
- Medicine Award: Dr. Moono Ernest Munsanje (Botswana)
- Music Award: Mr. Chisanga G. Katongo, aka CRI$I$ (Lusaka, Zambia)
- Professional Award: Musonda Lemba, PhD (Lusaka, Zambia)
- Rising Star Award: Ms. Lelemba Phiri (Cape Town, South Africa)
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Mwape Peer Awards show covering the fashion show by WM Foundation.
Until next time, stay blessed!