Nominations open for Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2008

25 January 2008

Scots all over the world will today (Friday 25 January) celebrate the legacy of their most famous son, Robert Burns, with the traditional ingredients of poetry, music, haggis and whisky.

But Scots are also being urged today to reflect on the humanitarian values of Burns and his works by placing their nomination for The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

Now in its seventh year, this iconic award is presented to someone who has saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole,  through personal self-sacrifice, selfless service, 'hands on' charitable or volunteer work, or other acts.

Nominees can be from anywhere in the world and must have shown an outstanding commitment to improving the lives of others.

The judging panel will be led by Ayrshire-born chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Tom McKillop.

Sir Tom, an avid admirer of Burns, said: “Whoever receives the Award this year will personify the enduring spirit of Burns; his connection with people’s cares and desire for a better life.”

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the selfless work of someone who may not previously have been recognised.”

Previous recipients of the award have included John Sulston, a major influence on the landmark Human Genome Project and civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. Last year’s award winner Adi Roche sums up perfectly what the award is all about. As founder of the Chernobyl Children’s Project International, Roche’s efforts over the past 15 years have initiated 16 aid programmes and delivered humanitarian and medical aid valued at over $50M to the areas most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

If you would like to nominate someone for the 2008 award, visit The deadline for nominations is Friday 29 February. A shortlist of three will be announced at the end of March.

The winner will receive 1759 guineas (the equivalent of around £1,800 today), signifying the year of the bard’s birth and the coinage then in circulation. They will also receive a specially commissioned award by a Scottish artist, at a ceremony to be held in Ayr on 17 May, kicking off the 2008 burns an’ a’ that! festival.

The Award is supported by EventScotland, the national events agency and VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation.



Notes to Editors

  • Jim Reid, Interim Chair of the Burns Festival Company and member of the judging panel for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, is available for interview. Please call the contacts above to arrange an interview.
  • The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award Ceremony is the opening event of the 2008 burns an’ a’ that! Festival in Ayr. For more information on the festival go to
  • The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is supported by EventScotland and VisitScotland.
  • EventScotland is the national events agency.

  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation.