BHUBANESWAR: Hollywood actor and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Global Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd was conferred the KISS Humanitarian Award 2016 here on Thursday.
In a glittering function, founder of KIIT and KISS Achyuta Samanta 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. Instituted by KISS, the award was given in recognition of her outstanding contribution to civil society and work to protect vulnerable women and girls from sex trafficking.
On the occasion, Judd lauded the efforts of KISS for providing education and other facilities to 25,000 tribal students. ''You are lucky to find an opportunity to study in an institution like KISS,'' she told the students while disclosing that she was sexually harassed at the young age of seven. "Had I studied in an institution like this, I would have grown up to become a stronger, resilient woman much earlier in life," she said.
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.
A galaxy of legal luminaries including First lady of Odisha Imkonglemia Jamir, Judge of International Court of Justice (The Hague) Dr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and UNFPA India Country Representative Diego Palacios were present.
Prior to the award ceremony, singer Jitendra Haripal crooned a few lines from his popular folk song 'Rangabati' for which he was recently chosen for the Padmashree Award.
The KISS Humanitarian Award was instituted in 2008 by Samanta to honour and recognise individuals with exceptionally high contribution to the society in various fields related to social issues.