Aidex Voices

The AidEx Humanitarian Hero Award was won by Dr Michael Kühnel on 15 November in Brussels at AidEx 2017 – the world’s largest international aid and development event. The winner was voted for by thousands of aid and development professionals in the lead up to the event.

The AidEx Humanitarian Hero Award sets out to recognise individuals who stand out in the field. The four shortlisted finalists also included Scott Anderson from UNWRA, Jane Kaye-Bailey from The Butterfly Tree and Global Communities’ Shane Middleton.

On receiving the award, Dr. Kühnel humbly remarked, “I am still shocked, I can’t believe it”.

Interview with aidex 2017 humanitarian hero award winner

Winner background

  • Dr. Michael Kühnel has worked as a volunteer for the Austrian Red Cross for 18 years
  • He has gone on missions all over the world including Indonesia in 2005 following the Tsunami and as a health delegate to Haiti in 2011 after it was struck by a tremendous earthquake.
  • In 2014 Dr. Kühnel was the only Austrian citizen working in Sierra Leone after a deadly Ebola outbreak.
  • In 2016 he was selected as a health delegate for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on the rescue boat Responder in the Mediterranean, run by the help-organisation Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), to treat refugees in distress at sea.
  • Four kilometres off the Lybian coast, his crew rescued hundreds of refugees out of the water.
  • Dr. Kühnel quite literally wears his dedication on his arm, with a tattoo featuring the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

AidEx is a must-attend conference for the aid and development community. This event takes place alongside satellite conferences in Nairobi and Dhaka. Visit for more information