He has been honoured with prestigious Gusi Peace Prize International, also called ‘Asia's Nobel Peace Prize’
GN Bureau | December 12, 2014
Achyuta Samanta, noted social entrepreneur and founder of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) as well as the KIIT group of institutions, has been honoured with the prestigious Gusi Peace Prize International – also called ‘Asia's Nobel Peace Prize’.
He received the award in Manila on November 26 amid a galaxy of luminaries comprising presidents, prime ministers, distinguished scientists, and philanthropists from all over the world.
Samanta was the only Indian among the 15 laureates of the award this year, conferred by the Philippines-based Gusi Peace Prize International. He is the third Indian and first from Odisha to be conferred the award. He was given the prize for “poverty alleviation through education and humanitarianism”. The citation recognises his outstanding contribution in the field of education and for his humanitarian efforts to uplift the socially and economically marginalised children through education.
Samanta has been working for the uplift of the poorest of the poor indigenous community in Odisha for the last two and a half decades. He has made it a mission to provide a level-playing field to this most neglected section of the society, which led him to establish the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), a free residential institute for 22,500 tribal children. He also founded KIIT, a group of professional institutes, to support this social enterprise.
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.
“KISS plans to educate 2,00,000 underprivileged indigenous children within next 10 years,” Samanta said in his acceptance speech, while expressing gratitude to the awarding body for the honour.
This year’s awardees, besides Samanta, were: Dr. Hans Koechler from Austria, Dr. Atiur Rahman from Bangladesh, Dr. Manson Fok from China, Prof. Virima Mudogo from Congo, Hon. Dominique Hoppe from France, Prof. Gerhard Bringmann from Germany, Hon. Parviz Pargari from Iran, Dr. Luigi Pellegrini from Italy, Prof. Yoshinory Asakawa from Japan, former president Vytautas Landsbergis from Lithuania, Hon. Bhojraj Pokharel from Nepal, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar from Philippines, Dr. Kazimierz Glowniak from Poland and Hon. Saad Nahar Al-Baddah Almutairi from Saudi Arabia.
The Gusi peace prize is an international award given annually to great individuals who have distinguished themselves as brilliant exemplars of society. The selection process for Gusi is both complex and rigorous. After a scrutiny and a process that continues for over a year, the jury members consisting of distinguished persons from all over the world agree on the selection and the final decision is then taken by the Award committee having its annual session in the USA. The list of awardees is duly approved by the Philippines Senate.
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