Interview with H.E. Remigo Maradona

The representative of the IDC “Amicability” interviewed an outstanding person who devoted his whole life to fighting inequality and injustice in the world through the creation of a new kind of food - His Excellency Remigo Maradona. Remigo is the Secretary General of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM), an Observer to the United Nations Economic and Social Council Under ECOSOC Resolution 2003/212 Dated 5th of March 2003. Remigo has received many awards for his work, including the Mahatma Gandhi Medal, which was previously received by former US President Bill Clinton and spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Your Excellency, you have been engaged in various charitable programs since youth. Could you tell, what made you choose such sphere of work? Can you call it your vocation?

While my journey has been long and arduous growing as a physically challenged person all my life (Polio Victim age of two), nonetheless, I never let the challenges I personally encountered such as discrimination, ridiculed, rejection overcome me. I was being told very often when I sought employment or wanted to play the game that I loved, “Football” or “Soccer” as it is known in the U.S: “Sorry but at this point in time we cannot accommodate someone with special needs”. I never let it get to me, for I always remembered words of the former First Lady of the U.S. and the UN Pioneer on Human Rights and wife of iconic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was a Polio victim. Eleanor Roosevelt, may she rest in peace said: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

I always held my chin up and dreamed that one day the change will come, which happened for me through rigorous years of perseverance and encountering people that were willing to go against the norms and look beyond my physical challenges. I have always felt that the United Nations System was the only mechanism available for all the disabled peoples around the world to voice their grievances and unfair play towards them and fighting social taboos, cultural barriers, insensitivity, social isolation, and outright injustice.

Could you tell a little about your main project, spirulina - the future food, for which you were given the Mahatma Gandhi medal?

The IIMSAM Sh. Zayed Free Spirulina Distribution Center in Kisumu, Kenya, since April, 2009, has been providing Spirulina to thousands of recipients suffering from acute malnutrition. They have received Spirulina supporting the IIMSAM Mandate and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda. According to UNICEF, through our Humanitarian Mandate in advocating the use of "Spirulina Platensis" against the number one killer in the world, acute malnutrition: “Whenever possible (upon the availability of funding) providing special services to the disabled community and in particular to disabled children enabling persons with disabilities to have access to, participate in various programmes such as physical therapy, counseling and other development opportunities. This is essential for safeguarding the rights of all persons to be treated with dignity.

Covid times stroke had a bad impact on the problem of malnutrition in the world. Today the international situation is also far from ideal. What are your plans for the future in terms of your projects and how do you think the present situation will affect it?

Covid 19 and its variants during the last two years affected the programme at our Sh. Zayed Centre for the free spirulina distribution. To the point we could not do distribute spirulina for almost a year, as the whole country of Kenya was on Lockdown by the Authorities. In 2021-Kenya was walloped with Covid-19 spikes in certain regions like Kisumu, where our Centre is located. Thus we were able to do some periodic distribution at times. As authorities severely restricted social-distancing, distribution was difficult during 2021. After almost two years of Pandemic, the widespread impact of COVID-19 continues to deepen, increasing poverty and entrenching inequality. But the pandemic is an inflection point and what happens next is up to us.

What are the areas in the world there your effort is needed today the most? How do you and your organization work there?

Findings from UNICEF surveys have been used by countries to gauge how the lives of children are impacted and to inform where to prioritize action. A new report published on UNICEF's 75th anniversary shows that while some countries are on the path to recovery, for many, COVID-19 continues to remain a crisis. We cannot allow unequal recovery from Covid19 to marginalize the most disadvantaged children further and increase inequality. We must act swiftly to recover from the pandemic equitably and work towards a better world for humanity and, most important, for the children of the world. Therefore in IIMSAM we prioritized helping those who are in the greatness needs. with our Exo-Humanitarian Assistance.

What in your opinion are main problems of the world today? And how is it possible to solve them?

Peace is the only Path in the 21st Century, and Peace is the only religion for both man and the universe. In a peaceful environment, all good things are possible, whereas, in the absence of peace, we cannot achieve anything positively, either as individuals or as a community. The same holds true at national and international levels.

As far as I know, you are a strong supporter of the UN system. However, there are many talks nowadays that it needs to be reformed. What do you think nations need to change to solve problems of the mankind more effectively?

No one loves the UN more than me. However the time has arrived to upgrade the UN to the times we are living in. The world has changed since 1945. One of a possible significant change the UN can make is increasing the number of member states with veto powers in the Security Council. This will make the council a more useful tool in the 21st. century.

Apart from your social activities, you are also a poet. Do you think that culture and poetry could save the world from the present crisis of misunderstanding?

I think The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) should play a more significant role in the world by promoting their platform and mandate which is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. They should learn from UNICEF the world’s most notable agency of the UN, which is also most prolific. I think UNESCO should be also as well know as UNICEF. As their mandate is just as significant as UNICEF. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture. These are all key pillars of our world today.

You write in English and Spanish. Do you like Russian poetry? Have you ever been to Russia and what was your impression of our country?

I love Russian Poetry it was embedded in my heart during my college years studying Russian History as well as its literature. It brings back the fondest memories of my youth. For me the definition of Russian culture is marked by its prolific National Literature, starting with the great Alexander Pushkin considered to be backbone of Russian poetry. I remember his classic love poem dedicated to a mysterious heart breaker. It became a popular poem, I think it was also made into music.

And to end the interview, what can you tell to young people, who want to work in social sphere? Can you give any advice or share your experience?

Accept young people's ideas listen to young people's suggestions, change session plans, revise the project to incorporate young people's ides, put their ideas into practice with the support that is needed. We must remember that young people are enthusiastic because they can use their imagination limitless. In IIMSAM, we have a Youth Ambassador's Programme, which creates opportunities for young people to perform on the field with actual activities that are saving lives..instead of lip service.

Thank you for the interview!