The Steven Krulis Champion of Humanity Distinguished Service Award recognises those who have contributed significantly to the prevention of genocide and to promoting values of humanity. Originally called the Aegis Award, it has been given only once before – to L Gen Romeo Dallaire of Canada in 2002.
The Award will be presented to Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn at a ceremony on 5th March 2019, hosted by Lord Alton of Liverpool in the House of Lords, London. Separate events highlighting Ambassador Quinn’s achievements will also be held in Rwanda on Friday March 1st and at the UK National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire, England on Sunday March 3rd.
The Award recognises Ambassador Quinn’s service over several decades in confronting and countering genocide, especially in relation to the people of Cambodia, thereby championing values of humanity globally.
The Award especially recognises Ambassador Quinn’s role, before anyone else, in identifying and speaking up about the genocidal policies and actions of the Khmer Rouge, which sadly fell on deaf ears; in leading the Iowa SHARES campaign that rushed life-saving food, medicine, doctors and nurses to alleviate the suffering of thousands of survivors after the genocide; and then in the 1990s, as US Ambassador to Cambodia, when he developed an effective strategy to eradicate the remaining 25,000 Khmer Rouge in the country.
Lord Alton said, “The moto on my coat of arms reads, ‘choose life’, and this is what this award represents – those that have chosen pathways of life, through confronting and countering genocide through their humanity, providing a role model and inspiration to others.”
Dr Smith said, “It is truly remarkable to have someone who played such a leading role in responding to the humanitarian fallout of a genocide, in this case the genocide in Cambodia. He raised the alarm some two years prior to the genocide starting. Imagine if we had listened; imagine a world where we had used our ethical intelligence to invest in early prevention. Then, years later, he developed an ingenious way to eradicate the remnants of the perpetrators of this mass murder. That is exceptional.”
Ambassador Quinn said, “I am truly humbled to be recognised with this Award, named in memory of Steven Krulis. The incomparable suffering of the millions of victims of genocide in the 20th century is an indelible stain on human history. I want to express my most profound gratitude to Dr James Smith and the Aegis Trust for this extraordinary honour that they are bestowing upon me, and my unending admiration for all that the Aegis Trust is doing to ensure that future genocides do not occur again in the 21st century or beyond.”
Thomas Krulis, son of Steven Krulis, said, “Our family very much appreciates that my father’s life is being honoured. He was a great man, who survived the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust, teaching me what it is to be a champion of humanity. We survived and prospered because of his humanity and the humanity of others. To my dad, may you be comforted in the knowledge that in your memory something really positive has begun.”
Ambassador Quinn currently serves as president of the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
About Ambassador Kenneth M Quinn:
President of the World Food Prize since 2000, Kenneth Quinn had a 32-year career as a State Department diplomat from 1967 to 1999 – serving in Vietnam during the war, at the United Nations in Austria, at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, and on Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council staff at the White House. From 1996 to 1999, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia.
Dr. Quinn emerged as one of the U.S. Government’s foremost experts on Indochina. Whilst assigned on the Cambodian border in Vietnam, he is widely acknowledged as the first person anywhere to report, in 1974, on the genocidal policies of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, the worst genocidal, mass-murdering, terrorist organisation of the second half of the 20th century.
In 1979, he led the Iowa SHARES campaign that rushed life-saving food, medicine, doctors and nurses to the Cambodian border in Thailand to alleviate the suffering of thousands of victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide, with the first shipment arriving on Christmas Day of that year. Twenty years later, while serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and as Ambassador to Cambodia in the 1990s, his plan of agricultural enhancements and improved rural roads led to the final eradication of the remaining 25,000 Khmer Rouge.
Ambassador Quinn rose to become one of the most decorated Foreign Service officers of his generation, recognized for the important role he played in humanitarian endeavours, as well as for his actions in dangerous and violent situations. His honours include: the US State Department’s Award for Heroism and Valor; being the only three-time recipient of the American Foreign Service Association’s Rivkin and Herter Awards, for dissent and courage in challenging policy; and being the only civilian recipient of the U.S. Army Air Medal, for participating in over 100 hours of combat helicopter operations in Vietnam. On May 30, 2014, Dr. Quinn was presented with the prestigious Iowa Award, that State’s highest civilian honour, by the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad.
Over the past two decades, the World Food Prize has grown in size and stature under his direction – now commonly referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture”. Speakers he has welcomed to the World Food Prize events in Des Moines include Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, Princess Haya bint Al Hussein and Chinese President Xi Jinping.