Feature story

UNAIDS Executive Director receives prestigious humanitarian award

26 February 2008

President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo presents UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr Peter Piot the “Blessed Mother Teresa International Humanitarian Award” at a ceremony held on 26 February 2008 in New Delhi, India.

The first ever ‘Blessed Mother Teresa International Humanitarian Award’ has been awarded to Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS for the ‘significant impact he has made to the lives of people living with HIV in the developing world’.

Dr Piot was presented with the award by Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India at a special ceremony held in New Delhi on 26 February 2008. He will share the award with Ambassador Mark Dybul, the US Global AIDS Coordinator, who will be presented with his award during the Mother Teresa Memorial Annual Oration to be held at the Indira Gandhi National University on 3 March. 

The award was established by the Health Commission of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India to recognise the work of dedicated individuals demonstrating similar humanitarian concerns to those of Mother Theresa herself.

20080226_EXDAward_200.jpg(From left): Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Dr George Deikun; President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo;  UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot; Executive Secretary, Commission for Health of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, Fr Alex Vadakumthala.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Dr Piot said, “I accept this award as a recognition of the contribution of the whole United Nations family, and in particular by colleagues at UNAIDS, who work for the values closest to Mother Theresa’s heart – service to those in need. We are indeed driven by the ideals which she promoted through her life and her work which was marked by tolerance, compassion and inclusiveness.”

Dr Piot commended the Indian Catholic Church for its engagement in the AIDS response and support for people living with HIV continuing Mother Teresa's tradition of compassion and respect.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was the Albanian-born founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity—a Catholic Congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor in India. She lived as a simple nun who touched the hearts of many and in 1979 received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

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External links:

Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India Commission for Health