Search for world’s leading humanitarian begins
The search to honour the world’s most dedicated humanitarian gets underway today with the call for nominations for the 2009 Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.
Sir Tom McKillop, chair of the judging panel and keen Burnsian said: “On January 25 2009, Scots will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. In this very special year, we are casting the net wide for nominations which honour and reflect the humanitarian values present throughout much of Burns’ work.
“Nominees can come from anywhere in the world and must have shown an outstanding commitment to improving the lives of others. This is a great opportunity to highlight an organisation or individual who may not previously have been recognised for their humanitarian work.”
Now in its eighth year, the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a group or individual who has improved or enriched the lives of others through personal self-sacrifice, selfless service, 'hands on' charitable/volunteer work, or other acts. The winner receives 1759 guineas, a sum which signifies the year of the bard's birth and the coinage then in circulation, as well as a specially commissioned award.
Adding his support to the call for nominations the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, the First Minister of Scotland, said: “Man to Man the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that. This phrase, from my favourite Burns poem, is a declaration of the universal rights and dignity of people around the globe.
“2009 will be a particularly significant year in which to celebrate those inspired by this humanitarian principle, as the 250th anniversary of the birth of Burns and Scotland’s year of Homecoming. It is a chance to trace the extension of this aspect of Scottish identity into the modern world and I want to encourage people everywhere to nominate those who help keep these values alive.”
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, the national events agency supporting this year’s award said: “Whether it is someone who has dedicated their life to helping others or a voluntary group working overseas or closer to home, there is no doubt that there are many worthy candidates for the 2009 award.
“Last year's winner illustrates perfectly what the award is all about. Jonathan Kaplan was awarded the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2008 for his work as a humanitarian aid surgeon in developing countries and crisis areas. Jonathan himself has been inspired by the humanitarian values of Robert Burns and will join the award judging panel for 2009.”
Other previous recipients of the award have included John Sulston, a major influence on the landmark Human Genome Project, civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and Adi Roche, founder of the Chernobyl Children’s Project International.
If you would like to nominate an outstanding group or individual for this year's Robert Burns Humanitarian Award visit www.robertburnsaward.com.
Nominees can be from anywhere in the world, of any gender, age or creed, and must have shown an outstanding commitment to humanitarian concerns.
Nominations for the 2009 award can be submitted from 20th October to 4th December 2008. The final shortlist of three will be announced on Burns Night, 25th January 2009, and the final award ceremony will take place in May.
The Award will be the opening event of the 2009 Burns an’ a’ that! Festival (www.burnsfestival.com), which is supported by EventScotland, South Ayrshire Council, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland.