Minzayar Oo has been awarded the Hexagon-sponsored Martin Adler Prize for 2017. This recognition is awarded each year to someone who has made an important contribution to journalism in a local area, dedicating themself to educating the public on little-known situations.
Inspired by those who shine a light on the world’s most challenging issues, Hexagon is proud to support the Martin Adler prize and honor Oo, whose illuminating work is shaping smart change and tearing down obstacles to create a better world. You can learn more about Oo and view his work in The Guardian.
At the young age of 29 years old, Oo has already made a huge impact through his work as a freelance photojournalist in Myanmar. He has been visiting and photographing Myanmar’s refugee camps since 2012, and his project “The Price of Jade” sheds light on the effects of the country’s secretive and corrupt jade industry.
The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar may be what the country is best known for at present. The Rohingya, an indigenous people, have been the victims of persecution, displacement and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Buddhist majority, and therefore many Rohingya have been relocated to refugee camps. Oo’s work documenting the daily lives of people living in these camps is a humanising view that shows the daily struggles, relationships and vulnerabilities of those affected by the crisis.
Minzayar Oo’s impressive work has been included in many publications, such as The New Yorker, TIME, The New York Times and National Geographic, among others. His talent for capturing the daily realities of life in Myanmar has allowed these stories to be portrayed in a way that had not been done before. This honest and moving portrayal is a service to the people of Myanmar and the world at large.
Regardless of the honors he receives, Oo remains humble. He is grateful to accept the Martin Adler Prize. “To be able to represent all of my colleagues back home in Myanmar – who are just as talented, if not more talented than me – makes me very happy,” he said.
Having the courage to dedicate oneself to sharing stories of others while being met with resistance – now that’s shaping smart change.