11/10/2002 - On 14 October SOS-Kinderdorf International's President Helmut Kutin will be in New York to receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Award, the world's largest award for humanitarian service, on behalf of his organisation. The USD 1 million that goes with the award will be used to fund additional pilot facilities in Africa in which SOS Children's Villages supports aids orphans and families affected by the AIDS pandemic.
The actual prize-giving ceremony will be held in the framework of a conference on "Social Justice - Bridging the Global Gap between Rich and Poor" organized by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
The conference and the prize-giving ceremony will be attended by leading public figures and numerous prominent individuals involved in humanitarian work and the defence of human rights, namely Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, who will make the keynote address; Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the UN World Food Programme; Andrew Natsios, chairman of USAID (United States Agency for International Development); Susanna Agnelli, former Italian foreign minister and member of the jury at the Hilton Foundation; Maya Ajmera, executive director of the Global Fund for Children; Ritu Sharma, co-founder and executive director of Women's Edge; Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of Grameen Bank (active in the field of micro-credits); Francis Deng, UN Special Representative for Displaced Persons; Queen Noor, patroness of SOS Children's Villages of Jordan; Princess Salimah Aga Khan, SOS-Kinderdorf International's ambassador for children; representatives of various UN embassies in New York, and many others.
The prize will be presented by Steven Hilton, President of the Los Angeles-based Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. SOS-Kinderdorf International is the latest addition to a prominent list of prize-winners that includes Médicins sans Frontières, Casa Alianza and St. Christopher's Hospice.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who nominated SOS-Kinderdorf International for the Conrad N. Hilton Prize 2002, said of the jury's decision: "I am thrilled for the SOS-Kinderdorf International organisation. I nominated SOS Children's Villages for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize because I've seen first hand the difference it can make for children. SOS Children's Villages takes kids out of often tragic situations and gives them a loving and supportive family atmosphere to grow up in. It's what every child deserves. I'm very proud to be associated with SOS-Kinderdorf International."
The prize-money will be used to fund pilot projects for AIDS victims run by SOS Children's Villages in southern and eastern Africa. The programmes have been created to test new ways of helping, counselling and caring for AIDS orphans, and assisting children and families affected by AIDS. In addition to information campaigns, and initiatives designed to overcome taboos and encourage respect for HIV/AIDS victims, there is also a focus on material, medical, educational and psychosocial assistance. SOS Children's Village staff working in collaboration with volunteers from the local communities seek to build up a social network to counter isolation, discrimination and neglect of people affected by AIDS, and especially children, so that they can live with a degree of security and hope for a better future.
Both the conference and the award ceremony will be transmitted live on the website of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation http://www.hiltonfoundation.org (audiovisual coverage for the presentation at 12:00 p.m. local time, audio only for the conference at 8:30 a.m. local time).