The prestigious KISS Humanitarian Award 2016 was conferred on the Hollywood actress and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the UNFPA Ashley Judd at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar on Thursday (February 9, 2017).
In a glittering function, founder of KIIT and KISS Achyuta Samanta, R. N. Dash, Secretary and Governor of Odisha SC Jamir presented the award to Judd who is on a visit to Odisha from Monday to tour tribal schools where UNFPA has implemented projects to promote sexual and reproductive health of girls.
“Human rights are under challenge all over the world and we need champions like Ms. Ashley Judd now more than ever”, said Dr. Jamir, commending her as a tireless champion of women rights. KISS is a glowing example of protecting human rights of tribal children, he stated, while expressing happiness that the Institute has been honoring outstanding men and women from all parts of the world through this annual award.
Ashley Judd informed that she will soon be authoring her second book that would be based on life and struggles of unfortunate young girls who are trafficked for sex or face discrimination in society for various reasons.
Expressing gratitude for the honour, Judd said, KISS is transforming poverty through education and nutrition.
“This award will empower and make me energetic to do more work for women and girl children,” said Judd.
I was sexually assaulted as a seven-year old”, she revealed, while stressing that violence and discrimination against women is pervasive in all countries and cultures.
Women should have control of their own body, sex, and fertility, she insisted.
Ms. Judd is a popular American actress who has played leading roles in Hollywood hits like Ruby in Paradise, Where the Heart is, Kiss the Girls and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Apart from her unforgettable performances in highly acclaimed films, the Golden Globe and Emmy nominee has been involved in global humanitarian work since 2004. Her initial work revolved around AIDS in Africa.
She is strongly committed to the cause of social justice, poverty eradication and sustainable development and a passionate advocate of rights of the girl child and women. Associated with numerous charities and foundations across the world, she was appointed Global Goodwill Ambassador for the UNFPA in 2016.
The actress has spent the last three days also turning cartwheels, breaking into a Sambalpuri dance, and on Thursday singing ‘Hare Rama, hare Krishna’ with the 25,300 there to hear her speak. Today she is scheduled to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
“The award, comprising a citation and a gold plated trophy that depicts a great social message, has attained much covetousness over the years”, said Prof. Samanta in his welcome address. It is the celebration of the struggles of the extraordinary human beings who try to alleviate the sufferings from the face of the earth, he stated.