One of the province's highest honours will be handed out by Premier Greg Selinger at the legislative building on Friday. The honourees include a former CBC Future 40 recipient, a scientist who helped stop Ebola and a Manitoba rock music aficionado.

Abdikheir Ahmed

Abdikheir Ahmed is part of the Social Planning Council's Local Immigration Partnership, which brings together different levels of government to plan and research the best strategies to help newcomers.

Abdi Ahmed, John Einarson, Dr. Gary Kobinger and Debi Spence will each receive the Order of the Buffalo Hunt at a special ceremony.

"I'm quite excited by it. To be honest with you, when I got the call from the premier's office, I was pleasantly surprised," said Abdikheir Ahmed, a former refugee from Somalia who now works with the Social Planning Council to help newcomers settle in Winnipeg.

Ahmed describes himself as a proud Winnipegger who feels a responsibility to help others like himself integrate into society.

"I feel honoured to be able to do the work I do," he said.

John Einarson

Music writer John Einarson is one of four Manitobans receiving the Order of the Buffalo Hunt Friday in Winnipeg. (CBC)

Fellow honouree and rock music historian John Einarson said he is "overwelmed" by the award.

"Cultural history has always been interesting to me," he said. 

"My love of music history goes back to being a teenager. I mean I grew up in the '60s in Winnipeg, and it was such an exciting time for music."

All four Manitobans are being recognized for "outstanding contributions to the province in a variety of fields ranging from science, social work and the arts," said a news release.

"Too often we fail to recognize and appreciate the contributions and lifetime dedication of some individuals who have truly made Manitoba a better place for all," Selinger said in the release.

Order of the Buffalo Hunt recipients:

  • Ahmed, a past CBC Future 40 recipient, is a refugee turned newcomer advocate. He is the former executive director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and now works for the Local Immigration Partnership at the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
  • Einarson is a rock music historian with expertise in made-in-Manitoba rock. He has written books about Buffalo Springfield and Randy Bachman among others.
  • Debi Spence has dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate, notably homeless Winnipeggers, said the news release.
  • hi-gary-kobinger-120823

    Dr. Gary Kobinger, who helped develop Ebola drug ZMapp, is the National Microbiology Laboratory's outgoing chief of special pathogens. He will vacate the position in June to go to the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at Laval University in Quebec City.

    Dr. Gary Kobinger is a scientist whose team was instrumental in fighting the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014 with the creation of the drug ZMapp. Dr. Kobinger is the outgoing chief of special pathogens at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. He will be departing the lab for Laval University in Quebec City in June.

Four more Manitobans will be honoured with the Order of the Buffalo Hunt at a later date, the news release said. They are Richard Bonnycastle, Jean Doucha, the late Len Evans and Joan Mary Harland.


  • In a previous version of this story we referred to the Order of the Buffalo Hunt as the highest honour in Manitoba. It is in fact one of Manitoba's highest honours.
    Jan 08, 2016 10:41 AM CT