An Irish Columban Catholic missionary, Fr Shay Cullen, has been named as the 2017 recipient of the Martin Buber Award in recognition of his internationally acclaimed work in support of human rights in The Philippines.

Fr Shay established the PREDA Foundation in The Philippines in 1974, an organisation which has since been active in rescuing and caring for children from jails, abusers and brothels and providing them with a safe home as well as being engaged in defending human rights and promoting justice for the marginalised and supporting local mango farmers through a Fair Trade scheme.

Fr Cullen will be presented with the award at a festival in Europe held in November. 

An Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher who advocated peace dialogue, mutual recognition of human rights and dignity, and a united Jewish and Arab Palestine, Martin Buber died in 1965 and the award was initiated in his memory in 2002. Recipients since then have included German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Queen Silvia of Sweden, President Klaus Johannis of Romania, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Prince Irene of the Netherlands.

Fr Shay, who is also an international speaker, media commentator and author, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.