September 18 2002
SOS Children's Villages: Happy to receive Hilton Humanitarian Prize
"Acknowledgement of Hermann Gmeiner's lifetime achievement"
17/09/2002 - "Full of joy, gratitude and a certain feeling of pride I am pleased to announce that SOS-Kinderdorf International will receive the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize 2002." - these were the words of Mr Helmut Kutin, President of SOS-Kinderdorf International at today's press conference in Berlin. At US$ 1 million, the Hilton Prize is the world's largest humanitarian award.
Steven M. Hilton, President of Conrad N. Hilton Foundation based in Los Angeles (USA) was happy to announce the jury's selection: "The SOS Children's Villages will always have a special place in my heart. The foundation's founder would have been proud to award this year's prize to SOS-Kinderdorf International."
The formal presentation of the prize will take place on 14 October at an international humanitarian conference in New York.
President Kutin considers the prize as an outstanding recognition of SOS Children's Villages' activities: "I am personally delighted - receiving the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize acknowledges the lifetime achievement of our founding father Hermann Gmeiner and is a very special honour for our thousands of co-workers throughout the world."
Deeply moved by the solidarity shown by the worldwide family of SOS Children's Villages, Princess Salimah Aga Khan, SOS-Kinderdorf International Ambassador for Children, said: "Millions of people support SOS Children's Villages - I am just one of them. I feel honoured that my commitment has made me become a part of SOS Children's Villages."
According to Helmut Kutin, the award will be used to expand several pilot projects in Africa, testing new ways to support AIDS orphans and assist children and families affected by AIDS. "We cannot just turn away in the face of horrifying numbers of people affected by AIDS in Africa. We shall not be full of despair in the face of a tragedy of enormous proportions. We have to take small steps towards fighting those horrifying numbers. The people behind those numbers are children. We have to provide those children with loving care and a home."
The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize is presented annually by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (named for its founder, late hotel entrepreneur Conrad N. Hilton) to an organization making extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering. SOS-Kinderdorf International was one of nearly 200 nominations for this year's prize. A distinguished international jury made the final selection.