The 11th KISS Humanitarian Award 2018 was presented to Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate (2006) and Founder, Grameen Bank & Chairman, Yunus Centre, Bangladesh on May 11, 2018. Smt. Saswati Bal, President, KIIT & KISS and Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Founder presented the award before a host of dignitaries and a large audience at a glittering presentation ceremony in KIIT Deemed to be University.
The award citation recognizes his unwavering commitment to eradicate global poverty and foster economic and social development. “Like a true humanitarian, you felt the suffering and helplessness of the poor and dreamt of a poverty-free world; and have been tirelessly working to create the world of your dreams. Your recent work focuses on achieving zero illiteracy, poverty and hunger, which are very similar to the goals Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) has been espousing for the last 26 years”, it mentions.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Yunus called for imagining a system that creates wealth for everybody in the world. “A vast majority of 99% population owns only 1% of the world’s wealth. In India, the privileged 1% is holding 73% of wealth. You should imagine the wildest imagination because only imagination brings change. When Dr. Samanta started KISS in early 1990s, he didn’t have anything, but only imagination and dream. KISS is a dream Dr. Samanta turned into reality”. KISS, KISS and Grameen Bank are products of wild imaginations that were pursued relentlessly, he stated.
Expressing gratitude to KISS and its Founder for conferring him the KISS Humanitarian Award, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner said, “It is an amazing experience to visit this great institution. I went around different campuses of KIIT & KISS and it is like a dreamland. So much has been created in such a short time by Dr. Samanta. It is like a magic. He has taken very brave action to provide quality education to thousands of socially isolated and underprivileged children through KISS. In fact, Dr. Samanta is the most deserving person to get the humanitarian award”. He is the second Nobel Laureate to accept this award. Last year, it was presented to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, also a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Prof. Muhammad Yunus, is a Bangladeshi economist, widely known as the Father of Microfinance. He was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 along with Grameen Bank – the microcredit organisation he created to provide loans to the poor in Bangladesh. His model of microcredit popularised by Grameen Bank has been successfully replicated in more than 100 countries providing lifeline to millions of poor, especially women.
Prof. Yunus is full of human values, he feels the pain of the poor and is a true humanitarian, said Smt. Saswati Bal, President, KIIT & KISS in her presidential speech. “He has been working to remove intergenerational poverty for over last four decades. It is an honour to present him the 11th KISS Humanitarian Award”, remarked Dr. Samanta. Yunus Centre will sign an MoU with KISS for promoting social business, he informed.
KISS Humanitarian Award is a prestigious international award given to someone who has made exceptional contribution to the society in various fields relating to social issues and who has distinguished himself or herself as a true humanitarian. Instituted by Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar in 2008, the award is presented annually and its recipient is chosen by a high-level jury.
Previous recipients of the award are: His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama (2017); Ms. Ashley Judd, Hollywood Actor & Activist (2016); Dr. Alejandro Toledo, Former President of Peru (2015); Ms. Anne F. Stenhammer, Former Regional Programme Director, UN Women, South Asia Regional Office (2014); Madam Albina Du Boisrouvray, Founder, FXB International, Switzerland (2013); His Excellency Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Hon’ble Prime Minister, The Royal Government of Bhutan (2012); Rt. Hon. Lord Nicholas Addison Phillips, President (Chief Justice) of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2011); Rt. Hon. Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Eminent Social Worker & His Excellency the President of Mauritius (2010); Dr. Ham Kee-Sun, Eminent Educationist & Physician and Hon’ble President & Founder, Hanseo University, South Korea (2009); Ms. Edna Bomo Molewa, Noted Social Worker & Hon’ble Cabinet Minister, Social Development, South Africa National Assembly, South Africa (2008).
Among others, Shri R. N. Dash, Secretary, KIIT & KISS; Prof. Harekrishna Satapathy, VC, KISS Deemed to be University; Dr. P. K. Routray, CEO, KISS; and Shri Julius Lakra, Registrar also spoke on the occasion.