BRUSSELS, Belgium: Abbas Gullet, secretary general of the Kenyan Red Cross, has won the Aidex 2012 Humanitarian Hero of the Year Award.
He won ahead of Arthur Etheridge from Hope Carriers Trust, Andrew Koval from MedPharm and Evans Wadongo from Kenya-based Sustainable Development For All.
The Aidex Humanitarian Hero of the Year Award recognises outstanding individuals from the humanitarian community. This year the shortlist was derived from nearly 40 nominations.
Gullet commented: "It's a humbling experience - but on the other hand very satisfying. I would like to thank the thousands of Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers who voted for me and felt I should be the one. I hope the world becomes a more peaceful place, a place where people can be more tolerant with each other.
"We cannot avoid natural disasters, but man-made disasters can be avoided. We also need to be more prepared, more professional, more cost effective and cost efficient, have better programmes for the most vulnerable and make life easier for them," he added.
Gullet was orphaned as a child and began his humanitarian aid experience as a volunteer in the first aid youth service. His interventions and leadership has made the KRCS the leading National humanitarian organization in the country, recognised across the world as one of the best performing National Red Cross Societies. He was named UN person of the year in 2007, and again in 2009 and has also been awarded the Utetezi (Civil Society) Award by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
AidEx Event Director Nicholas Rutherford said: "Dr Gullet has dedicated almost thirty years of his life helping others, starting as a volunteer in the first aid youth service of the Kenya Red Cross Society in 1985. That he has overcome a difficult start to life - following the death of both his birth parents at an early age – makes his achievement today even more significant. Now he is a disaster response manager, a CEO, a father, and of course, a humanitarian."