Dr. Achyuta Samanta, noted social activist and reformer from India, will receive ‘Isa Award for Service to Humanity’, the highest civilian award of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The “man with Midas touch” will be awarded a certificate of appreciation, a 21-K. gold medal and $ 1 million cash prize at the hands of His Majesty King Hamad of Bahrain at a special ceremony on June 3 next.
The honour is in recognition of Samanta’s humanitarian work, mentioned Deputy Premier and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the award, Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, while declaring the name of the recipient. This prestigious international award has been instituted to create awareness of extraordinary humanitarian endeavours across the world and to inspire more people to achieve excellence in humanitarian accomplishment, he said, adding that the Board of Trustee could not find a better person than Samanta to fit into the framework.
Samanta has been relentlessly working for the uplift of poorest of the poor indigenous community in Odisha for the last two and a half decades. His passion led him to establish Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), a free residential institute for 25,000 tribal children. He also founded KIIT, a group of professional institutes, to make this social enterprise sustainable through a unique and innovative financial model. KISS has received worldwide recognition as an effective model of empowerment of indigenous people through education. His model is now being replicated in many states of India as well as abroad.
The Award is named after the Late Amir Shaik Isa Bin Salman-Al Khalifa, former ruler of Bahrain. The recipient of the award is chosen by an expert panel representing each continent chaired by Swede Jan Paulsson, while the board chairman is Deputy Premier Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa. In a fiercely contested nomination process worldwide, Samanta’s name could clinch the award after physical verification of his creations, home and native place. A Jury member Mohammed Bensaissa of Marroco put it on record, “Dr. Samanta is the most worthy candidate, because he has overcome so many obstacles to help the community”.
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 His Majesty Hamad will greet him personally along with his Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other distinguished personalities of the kingdom. The venue of the ceremony will have galaxies of luminaries from Bahrain, Members of Diplomatic Missions in Bahrain and invited guests from across the globe, where Samanta will address the gathering.
Samanta will also have one-to-one meeting with His Majesty the King and the Ministers, besides delivering a one-hour address at the National University of Bahrain. Expressing happiness over his nomination, Samanta said, “It is not only a matter of great pride for me, but also for Odisha and Odia people”.