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    Martin Prokop is transforming public interest law and challenging the Czech Republic's legal system by encouraging concrete action from individuals and institutions. He promotes an interconnected approach that seeks change for critical legal policy, encourages broad-based citizen participation, and offers legal assistance to those who need it most.

    Petr Bergmann is revitalizing the cultural prosperity of Central European cities and towns. By restructuring cultural centers in a way that addresses pressing social issues, Petr is enriching communities and developing a culture of tolerance and understanding.

    Nalinika Obeyesekere is reforming Sri Lanka’s failing animal care system by improving veterinary education, tending to the country’s large stray animal population, and introducing new commercial opportunities in the animal service industry. She launched the country’s first multi-doctor veterinary practice, and uses a portion of the profits to subsidize free treatment for street animals and promote animal safety awareness.

    Helena has designed a solution to educating Roma children and adults that impacts the entire area of race relations in the Czech Republic. Her innovative educational programs are unique and comprehensive and benefit both the Roma and non-Roma populations by improving mutual understanding and cooperation. This reinforces the values of an integrated and diverse society, new concepts for the democratizing Czech Republic.

    This profile is dedicated to the memory of Milan Chab. It was prepared when Milan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996. Milan Cháb has a dramatic plan for integrating disabled and mentally impaired people into Czech society, which previously isolated and institutionalized them, and making them a vital component of restructuring and developing abandoned villages and farms.

    Katerina Hruba works in public interest law in the Czech Republic with a focus on human rights. She believes the dire situation of immigrants in her country—particularly the Roma—is perpetuated rather than relieved by current attempts to provide help because it separates social work from upholding the rule of law.

    In the White Carpathian region of the Czech Republic, Miroslav Janík is helping to preserve the unique way of life of a micro-ethnic group and their historic positive interaction with the environment. His work is applicable to many areas in Central and Eastern Europe, where there are numerous small micro-ethnic groups who are in danger of disappearing.

    Ilya is helping low income and conflict prone communities in East Africa build their resilience towards issues of mental health and psychological trauma