2013 Henry Dunant Medal Winners
Mr Tom Buruku
of the Ugandan Red Cross
After a successful career in the private sector, Mr Buruku joined the Uganda Red Cross Society in 1981. As Secretary General during Uganda’s civil war, and then as Director of Africa Department in the Federation’s Secretariat, he assumed an international role at a time of rapid change in the humanitarian world and in the Movement. In that role he co-ordinated large-scale relief operations in Ethiopia and in the Sahel among the largest Africa has seen.
Following that, Tom was appointed Head of Delegation in South Africa to help that National society overcome its internal divisions, and subsequently in Sierra Leone, which was then in the middle of its own civil war.
In 1998 he returned to Uganda Red Cross and resumed his work, for several years serving as its chairman, and in that capacity he is one of the founding members of the New Partnership for African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NEPARC).
Highly esteemed for his vision, tenacity and ability to bring people together, his warm demeanour and smiling face often disarm the most ardent adversaries.
In unanimously awarding Tom the Henry Dunant Medal, the Standing Commission is recognizing his important contribution to the development of international humanitarian activities, and for his work in promoting the Movement’s Fundamental Principles and ideals.
Mr Alberto Cairo
of the ICRC
A lawyer before he became a physiotherapist he spent three years in Juba, South Sudan, with an Italian organization for disabled children. He then joined the ICRC and was posted in Afghanistan in 1990: apart from a short mission in Sarajevo in 1993, he has never left Afghanistan.
Today he is responsible for the country’s seven ICRC orthopaedic centres, a programme that provides the disabled with physical rehabilitation and social reintegration.
Since 1994, the orthopaedic centre in Kabul has always remained open, suspending the activity only when absolutely necessary, and welcoming 7000 new patients every year.
Alberto Cairo has placed the dignity of the assisted people at the centre of his work, and actively promoted the employment of disabled people at the centres: by now, as a result of his policy of positive discrimination, over 90 per cent of the staff working at these centres are themselves physically disabled people.
For his devotion to humanitarian work during the last 23 years in Afghanistan, the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has unanimously agreed to reward Mr Alberto Cairo the Henry Dunant Medal, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s highest distinction.
Meneca De Mencía
Former president of the Honduran Red Cross
During her many years of service to Honduran Red Cross, Doña Meneca de Mencía founded the National Society’s blood-donation programme, its technical training unit, and the Honduran Child Alive programme. She was the elected president of the Honduran Red Cross for over thirty years.
Internationally, Doña Meneca de Mencía’s work has won respect among the National Societies in the Americas and beyond. Active in Movement-wide projects she co-chaired the study of the future role of the Red Cross in the Americas and the Caribbean. She was chair of the Inter-American Regional Committee, was elected vice-president of the International Federation (1993-1997) and a member of its Governing Board from 2001 to 2005.
For her personal commitment, her important contribution to the development of humanitarian activities, and for her work in promoting the Movement’s Fundamental Principles and ideals, the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has unanimously agreed to award Doña Meneca de Mencía the Henry Dunant Medal, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s highest distinction.
Barges Hamoud Al-Barges
President of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society
Barges Hamoud Al-Barges is a founding member of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, which was set up in 1966, and has served as Secretary General and then President of the National Society since 1974.
Under his leadership the Kuwait Red Crescent has enjoyed a high degree of decision-making independence, adhering fully to the Fundamental Principles of the Movement.
Mr Al-Barges has diligently developed the Society’s volunteer programmes and promoted them to raise public awareness and rally support for humanitarian endeavour.
The Society has been active in international relief work both in its own region and across the world, aiding countries hit by natural disaster and conflict, and has won acclaim for its substantial aid promptly delivered in the wake of disaster around in the world.
For his personal commitment, his important contribution to the development of humanitarian activities, and for his work in promoting the Movement’s Fundamental Principles and ideals, the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent has unanimously agreed to award Barges Hamoud Al-Barges the Henry Dunant Medal, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s highest distinction.