Anti-AIDS crusaders conferred first Mother Teresa awards in Delhi

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New Delhi, Feb.26 : The first Mother Teresa International Humanitarian Awards were presented at New Delhi's Taj Mahal Hotel on Tuesday.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India Health CommissionCBCI) organised the event.

The awards were presented to Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and Ambassador Dr. Mark Dybul, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, by Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, the immediate past President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, at a gala function.

Dr. George Deikun, Mission Director USAID accepted the award on behalf of Ambassador Mark Dybul.

The main objective of these awards is to acknowledge and recognize individuals who had demonstrated the same humanitarian concerns exemplified by Mother Teresa.

One of the awardees Dr. Peter Piot, comes from a distinguished academic and scientific career focussing on AIDS and women's health in the developing world. Under his leadership, UNAIDS has become the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS. Drawing on his skills as a scientist, manager and activist, Dr Piot has challenged world leaders to view AIDS in the context of social and economic development as well as security.

Piot was ecstatic at sharing the stage with Ambassador Dr. Mark Dybul.

"It's truly humbling honour to be bestowed with the first Mother Teresa International Humanitarian Award and also to be together with my good friend Ambassador Dr. Mark Dybul and to share this honour with him. Mark is not only leading the largest humanitarian and health programme in the world but also is an individual of outstanding stature and enormous faith," Piot said.

Ambassador Mark R. Dybul has served in various positions some of which include The United States Global AIDS Coordinator leading themplementation of U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. From March to August 2006, he served as Acting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and prior to that he held the positions of Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Assistant U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. He is also a former member of the World Health Organization's Writing Committee to develop global HIV therapy guidelines.

Mother Teresa worked among the underprivileged in Calcutta. She came to India as a nun in 1929 and started working in the slums of the city. She later set up her Missionaries of Charity, which was approved by the Vatican in 1950. The organisation now runs more than 500 charity homes in over 100 countries.

Mother Teresa, who died on September 5, 1997, received several national and international awards for social service during her lifetime. They include the Magsaysay Award in 1962, the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971, the John F. Kennedy International Award in 1971 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and the top civilian award of India - Bharat Ratna in 1980. She was beatified on October 19, 2003 by the Vatican.

ANI

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