Extraordinary humanitarians awarded for their efforts in promoting the Red Cross Red Crescent mission

تم النشر: 21 نوفمبر 2013 14:48 CET

Four remarkable people were awarded the Henry Dunant Medal at the Statutory Meetings of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Sydney, Australia, recognizing the amazing contributions they have made to its humanitarian mission. The Medal, which is awarded every two years at the Statutory Meetings of the Red Cross Red Crescent, is the highest honour the Movement can bestow, and recognizes exceptional achievement in aiding vulnerable communities and strengthening National Societies.

Recipients this year were Tom Buruku, Alberto Cairo, Doña Meneca de Mencía and Barges Hamoud Al-Barges. Greg Vickery, Chair of the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the commission which nominates recipients, said the awards recognized individual achievement, but also demonstrated the strength of the Movement itself. “It is also the ideals we share and the goals we all strive to reach: to bring relief to those in pain, to reduce vulnerabilities, and to build strong National Societies,” he said.

Barges Hamoud Al-Barges is a founding member of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, which was set up in 1966, and has served as Secretary General and then President of the National Society since 1974. Under his leadership the society has enjoyed a high degree of decision-making independence, adhering fully to the Fundamental Principles of the Movement.

As Secretary General during Uganda’s civil war, and then as Director of Africa Department in the IFRC Secretariat, Tom Buruku assumed an international role at a time of rapid change in the humanitarian world – and in the Movement. In that role he coordinated large-scale relief operations in Ethiopia and in the Sahel; among the largest Africa has seen.

Alberto Cairo was a lawyer before he became a physiotherapist. After three years in Juba, South Sudan, he joined the ICRC and was posted in Afghanistan in 1990. Today he is responsible for the country’s seven ICRC orthopaedic centres, a programme that provides disabled people with physical rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Internationally, Doña Meneca de Mencía’s work has won respect among the National Societies in the Americas and beyond. Active in Movement-wide projects she co-chaired the study of the future role of the Red Cross in the Americas and the Caribbean. She was chair of the Inter-American Regional Committee, was elected vice-president of the International Federation (1993 – 1997) and a member of its Governing Board from 2001 to 2005.