Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 5:
Noted social activist of Odisha and founder, KISS and KIIT, Dr Achyut Samang was honoured with ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity’, a top civilian award of the Kingdom of Bahrain, on Wednesday.
The “man with Midas touch” received a certificate of appreciation, a 21-K. gold medal and $ 1 million cash prize at the hands of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain at a special ceremony held at Isa Cultural Centre, Manama, in the presence of Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa; Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister; Deputy Premier and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity’, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa and other high dignitaries.
The honour is in recognition of Samanta’s efforts in social care and education.
“Prof. Samanta has based his services to humanity on constant diligence, as he strived to find effective initiatives that would eradicate poverty, hunger, and illiteracy, while working on providing the less fortunate with job opportunities and a better standard of living”, said King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in his keynote address.
He termed Samanta’s work, particularly Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), as “a unique, unprecedented and pioneering achievement and an example of giving and selflessness”.
A documentary on the life and accomplishments of the laureate was also screened.
The Award transcends borders and has no regard to restrictions of sect, geography or nationality. Its ultimate goal is encouraging humanitarian services. These are the very values and principles that the Late Amir of Bahrain, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, upon whom the award has been named, believed in, His Majesty the King stated.
This prestigious international award is given every two years to exceptional individuals or organisations whose selfless actions produced long-term benefit to the general public, enhanced efforts in finding solutions to humanitarian and social problems and issues, and adopted creative ideas and theories to raise the standard of life.
Expressing honour in being granted the Award by the King, Samanta, said it would be a catalyst for him to carry on his work in serving humanity. He extended sincere thanks and appreciation to the people of Bahrain, while dedicating the award to poor and destitute children all over the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa said, jury decided, unanimously, to grant the award to Samanta for his pioneering and outstanding efforts in saving thousands of children, belonging to various ethnicities and religions, from poverty, homelessness and deprivation and opened up horizons of hope, work and production.
The recipient of the award is chosen by an expert panel representing each continent chaired by Swede Jan Paulsson. In a fiercely contested nomination process worldwide, Samanta’s name could clinch the award after physical verification of his creations, home and native place.
It is a matter of great pride for Samanta to be the first ever Indian to put his feet on the Red Carpet spread out for him from the airport to the palace where the King greeted him personally along with his Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other distinguished personalities of the Kingdom.
Samanta also had a meeting with the King and the ministers, besides delivering a one-hour address at the National University of Bahrain.
Senior Royal family members, member of the second edition of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity and Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Dr Jack Diouf, Speaker, Shura Council chairman, MPs, chairmen of parliamentary committees, members of the Board of Trustees of the Isa Award for Service to Humanity, governors, senior officers of the BDF, Interior Ministry and National Guard, heads of diplomatic missions, editors-in-chief of newspapers, presidents of charity and social organisations, university students and guests attended the ceremony.