Dr Olav Hodne, Founder Director of RDRS Bangladesh, has been awarded the coveted `Wittenberg Award 2005’ by the Luther Institute on 5 November 2005 for his outstanding service to church and society.
Dr Hodne, a Norwegian national, served for about 40 years in India as a missionary. He came to northeast India in 1948 to work with the Santal tribal people. Later, he became the driving force behind the creation of the Cooch Behar Refugee Service (CBRS) and its two progeny, RDRS (LWS Bangladesh) and LWS India. He served as the founder-Director of RDRS from 1972 to 1974. He left Bangladesh in 1974 to become the first Director of LWS India.
Dr Hodne is also a recipient of the Nansen Prize and the Sylvester C. Michelfelder Award for work among refugee and Christian service respectively. He was also subsequently nominated by Mother Teresa for the Nobel Prize for his outstanding humanitarian service in the Indian subcontinent.
Dr Richard Bimler, President of Wheat Ridge Ministries, Itaska, Illinois and Dr Mary Beth Nelson, President of Bethel New Life, Illinois, also received the Wittenberg Award along with Dr Olav Hodne.