REMARKS BY DR. ABBAS GULLET, SECRETARY GENERAL
ACCEPTANCE SPEECH DURING THE NORTH-SOUTH PRIZE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
7 May 2018
I stand before you, very humbled to be receiving the 2017 North-South Prize of the Council of Europe. It is an honor, not only to me, but to my family, friends, colleagues and my country Kenya for shaping my life and steps to this stage. To you, I proudly hold and accept this award, thanking you all for your inspiration and support.
In a special way, I thank my wife and children for their endless support and understanding of my dedication to serving humanity – where most times I work day and night, even taking up their family time.
54 years ago when I was born in a small village in Garissa in the Northern part of Kenya, and a few years later, orphaned at the age of 7, all seemed lost. As luck would have it, I was adopted by a God-sent family, which would later nurture me into the 6-foot gentleman standing tall before you.
This award is a true rubber stamp that when you hold your ground and follow that which you believe in - no barrier can be too high to jump over and no circumstance can be too weighty to shutter your life.
For 11 years I volunteered with the Kenya Red Cross Society – motivated by the desire to touch and change the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. The desire to offer hope and put a smile on people’s faces. My work with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Kenya Red Cross Society where I am the Secretary General has granted me the solid foundation upon which I stand today.
I encourage volunteers around the world to be agents of change, selflessly serving and transforming communities around them. Thank you for this recognition and may this award serve as an inspiration to many more.
Kenya Red Cross Society