Mario R. Angi, MD was nominated by the Societá Oftalmologica Italiana to receive this year's Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.
As president of the Christian Blind Mission Italy (CBM Italia), Dr. Angi worked to ensure that countless people, young and old, were able to see the world through their own eyes. Dr. Angi's leadership has been two-fold. He frequently traveled to clinics in developing countries to serve patients as a front-line care provider and he worked tirelessly to develop the resources needed to sustain and support CBM Italia's projects around the globe.
Dr. Angi started his voluntary work as an ophthalmologist at age 29 after specializing in ophthalmology at University Padua in Italy. He served as a volunteer ophthalmologist with Rotary International in Mali in 1982 and 1987. He then took his family to Ibarra, Ecuador, in support of a young ophthalmologist who had also studied at the University Padua. Dr. Angi equipped the eye department of Ibarra's public hospital with an ophthalmic microscope, as well as surgical and optical instruments, enabling the hospital to perform cataract surgeries.
Additionally, Dr. Angi promoted two agreements of cooperation between the University of Padua and the University of Quito. He organized three scientific conferences in Ecuador. He sent five senior ophthalmologists to Ibarra as tutors and he invited 12 Ecuadorian residents in ophthalmology to the University of Padua for three-month rotations. Dr. Angi also organized visual screening for 6,000 indigent children in Quito and Ibarra and provided free glasses to children with high ametropia.
In 1996 a missionary friend of the Angi family requested his assistance with ophthalmic work in Africa. In 1997, Dr. Angi equipped an ophthalmic clinic in Nazareth, Ethiopia. He ran the clinic for two years and recruited volunteer Italian ophthalmologists to work with him.
Dr. Angi is a founding member of the Rotary Club in Abano Terme Montegrotto Terme. With humanitarian contributions from the Rotary Foundation and in cooperation with CBM Italia, he established the Cooper Eye Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia; the eye department of Eva Peron hospital in Santiago del Estero, Argentina; and the eye department of St. Luke Hospital in Wolisso, Ethopia.
Under Dr. Angi's leadership from 2002 to 2012, CBM Italia supported a total of 231 projects and programs in conjunction with various international health care groups, non-governmental organizations and local partners. During Dr. Angi's tenure, CBM Italia supported projects around the world, including in Mali, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Brazil and many other countries.
At present Dr. Angi continues his work in Africa. In Ethiopia, he is participating in an agreement of cooperation between the University of Padua and the University of Addis Ababa. In cooperation with CBM in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he has opened an eye hospital in Isiro; with support from Rotary, he equipped the Eye Clinic of Butembo. At the clinic in Isiro, he started a program for the control of sight-related problems and provided glasses for school children in the area.
As Mother Theresa said, "Unless a life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile." Dr. Angi's leadership of CBM Italia and his dedication to preventing blindness are testament to the fact that Dr. Angi leads a worthwhile life as a man for others. The Academy is privileged to honor Dr. Angi with this year's Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.