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November 28, 2012 - Mother Teresa Memorial Award to our Vice President

Vinay Shetty, Vice President of Think Foundation was the recipient of the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice – 2012 at a glittering ceremony held at the Hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai on 29 November 2012. The award was presented by the Harmony Foundation for outstanding contribution to the causes of blood donation and thalassaemia. In his acceptance speech, Vinay Shetty said that the award was a recognition of voluntary blood donors who have always ensured a positive balance of blood units in blood banks in the city.

The other recipients of the national awards  were Mr Kuldeep Nayyar,  famous Indian writer, for his contribution to India-Pakistan peace efforts;  Flavia Agnes, a lawyer, for her commitment to women's rights and fight against domestic violence; Gujarat police officer Sanjeev Bhatt, for his efforts in favour of communal dialogue; and the Shillong Chamber Choir for promoting national integration through music. The Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission was also recognized for its work towards empowerment of women.

The 2012 edition of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice conferred by the Harmony Foundation went to Sima Samar, a former Afghan vice president, and Mala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl attacked by the Taliban for her commitment to women's rights. The teenager is presently in Great Britain, after she was shot in the head on 9 October 2012 by Muslim extremist. Harmony Foundation President Abraham Mathai said the two women were chosen for their courage, for putting their lives on the line for an ideal.

Sima Samar was recognised for her work in the field of womens rights, education and emancipation. Currently, she is in charge of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Malala Yousufzai is a teenager who was chosen for a special jury award in recognition of her courage and her determination to fight against discrimination against Pakistani girls in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban have imposed Sharia.

Other recipients of this prestigious award in the past have included His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, former Pakistan minister Dr Ansar Burney and Baroness Caroline Cox, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords in the UK.

The Harmony Foundation was founded by Dr. Abraham Mathai in October 2005 to promote the idea of peace, dialogue and help for all communities without distinction of religion, caste, creed, gender or region. In 2007, the Foundation established the Mother Teresa Memorial International Awards for Social Justice in honour of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.