The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA) – one of the most globally respected humanitarian accolades – is again open for nominations for 2015.
Supported by South Ayrshire Council and EventScotland, through Scotland’s Winter Festivals – the RBHA is bestowed annually on a group or individual who has shown selflessness and dedication in a bid to save, enrich or improve the lives of others through the protection and promotion of human rights and work to deliver social reform.
Named in honour of Scotland’s son Robert Burns, this much sought after humanitarian award applauds the efforts of people who bring hope and inspiration, often in desperate situations, and help change lives for the better.
Nominations to find the person (or group) that emulates Scotland’s national Bard through the desire, dedication and will to make a difference and effect social change, can be made up to 4pm on Friday 7 November 2014. Winners receive the equivalent of 1759 guineas (approximately £1,800) – a sum which signifies the year of the Bard's birth and the coinage then in circulation – as well as a specially commissioned award handcrafted in Scotland.
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Chair of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2015 judging panel, said: “We’re looking for a person, or a group of people, who follow in Rabbie’s footsteps and devote themselves to others and push the boundaries for social change.
“Humanitarians come in all shapes and sizes, from all corners of the earth, and find themselves dealing with many different and difficult situations. But they all have something in common – the desire, dedication and will to make a difference.
“Each former recipient of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award has demonstrated compassion for humankind, strength of character, fortitude and a sheer determination to improve life – whether it is ending poverty, caring for the victims of war zones, or developing environmental and land management projects.”
Nominees must demonstrate – either through a particular achievement or a series of efforts – one of more of the following:
• A courageous deed involving personal self-sacrifice, going beyond the call of duty in the name of humanity.
• A commitment to serving others and making a difference through humanitarian acts of selfless service.
• A generosity of spirit and dedication helping improve the quality of life for people in need through the provision of shelter, food, clothing, education or meaningful employment.
• Direct ‘hands-on’ participation in humanitarian works that directly benefit an individual/groups of individuals/community.
• Outstanding involvement and dedication that makes a significant contribution to volunteer leadership or service which has improved or enriched the lives of others and the welfare of humanity and society as a whole.
• An act of kindness done without expectation of reward that has resulted in recognition by members of a community/organisation.
The 2014 winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award was Blanche Nicholson, from the charity Hansel, for her efforts to continue the work that her parents started 50 years ago, offering services and support to people living with learning disabilities.
Councillor McIntosh continued: “We all know – or have heard of – someone who continually puts themselves out for the benefit of others, who has dedicated their work to changing life for the better, or bringing an end to suffering.
“We want to champion those individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty, helping those who cannot help themselves in every corner of the globe, exemplifying tolerance, friendship and humanity.
“I’m certain Burns would be delighted his name was synonymous with the promotion of human rights and social reform – areas he was also deeply concerned with.”
The RBHA is part of the popular Alloway 1759 Festival www.alloway1759.com, a unique commemoration of the birthplace and life of Robert Burns: Nominees can be from any part of the world and be of any age or gender.
Nominations can be made online at www.robertburnsaward.com until 4pm on Friday 7 November 2014.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway in January 2015, which will coincide with the 256th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.
Previous winners of the RBHA include:
2013: Khalil Dale MBE: British Red Cross aid worker who was abducted and killed in Pakistan in 2012.
2012: Karen Spencer: A Scottish nurse working within the Oil Clinic in Tripoli, Libya who cared for patients – with little regard for her own personal safety – during the Libyan civil war conflict.
2011: Linda Norgrove, the Scottish aid worker who died during a US military-led rescue mission to free her from Afghanistani captors.