Dr Achyuta Samanta receives top civilian honour of Bahrain

June 5, 2015

On June 3, India’s noted social activist and reformer, Dr Achyuta Samanta – founder of KIIT University and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences – was honoured with the ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity’, a top civilian award of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The “Man with the Midas touch” received a certificate of appreciation, a 21-K gold medal and US$ 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 Center, Manama in the august 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 relentless efforts in social care and education. “Professor 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 His Majesty King 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.

Transcending national borders, the award 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 His Highness the Late Amir of Bahrain, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, after 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 of the common man.

Expressing honour on being granted the award by His Majesty the King, Samanta, said it would serve as 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 the poor and destitute children across the globe.

Speaking on the occasion, deputy premier and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity’, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa said that the 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 was able to clinch the award after physical verification of his creations, home and native place.

It was a matter of great honour and pride for Samanta to be the first Indian to step on the red carpet spread out for him from the airport to the palace where the King His Majesty Hamad greeted him personally along with his prime minister, deputy prime minister and other distinguished personalities of the kingdom.

The glittering ceremony was graced by 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.

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