TD Bank Group to Support the Global Pluralism Award Over the Next 10 Years

TD Bank Group to Support the Global Pluralism Award Over the Next 10 Years

$1 million contribution from TD Bank supports the building of more inclusive societies where diversity is valued and protected

Ottawa, Canada – February 7, 2023 –The Global Centre for Pluralism is honoured to announce that TD Bank Group has committed to support its Global Pluralism Award over the next 10 years with a generous contribution of CAD 1 million. With this support, the Award will continue to advance inspiring and innovative examples from around the world of efforts to build societies where differences are valued and inequalities are addressed.

Presented every other year to individuals, organisations, governments and businesses from around the world, the Global Pluralism Award recognizes the people behind pluralism. Often operating under circumstances of conflict or crisis, and tackling some of the most intractable pluralism challenges, the laureates’ initiatives are exemplars of courage and creativity.

“The stories of our Global Pluralism Award recipients are powerful. They are living proof that taking genuine action towards pluralism is not only possible; it is in all our hands. We deeply appreciate that TD Bank Group believes so strongly in the Award’s vision and has committed to support the ongoing sustainability and success of this flagship program,” Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism

“We are proud to support the Global Centre for Pluralism through their Award program, which highlights efforts to build more tolerant and diverse societies,” said Riaz Ahmed, President and CEO, TD Securities.  

Since the Award’s inception in 2016, 30 initiatives from across 25 countries have been recognized, including those working towards citizenship rights for minority communities in Kenya, empowering youth to be agents of change in Myanmar and advocating for the rights of victims of violence in Colombia.

Following a rigorous review process, an independent, international jury selects the finalists of the Global Pluralism Award. The next ten finalists of the Award will be announced in the fall of 2023, with three winners receiving CAD 50,000 each and in-kind support to further their work in support of pluralism.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:
Calina Ellwand,
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism
+1-613-688-0137
[email protected]

About the Global Centre for Pluralism
The Award is conferred by the Global Centre for Pluralism, an independent, charitable organization founded by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada. The Centre works with policy leaders, educators and community builders around the world to amplify and implement the transformative power of pluralism. To learn more, visit www.pluralism.ca

About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (“TD” or the “Bank”). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by assets and serves over 27 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Auto Finance Canada; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in The Charles Schwab Corporation; Wealth Management and Insurance, including TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world’s leading online financial services firms, with more than 15 million active online and mobile customers. TD had $1.9 trillion in assets on October 31, 2022. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol “TD” on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

Leaders in foreign affairs, philanthropy and human rights join international jury to select the next winners of the Global Pluralism Award

Leaders in foreign affairs, philanthropy and human rights join international jury to select the next winners of the Global Pluralism Award

Ottawa, Canada – October 12, 2022 – Marwan Muasher, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Foreign Minister of Jordan was appointed Chair of the Global Pluralism Award jury, following the conclusion of former Canadian Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark’s inaugural term. Two additional new members join the international jury: Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, and Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil, Ayuujk linguist, writer, translator and Indigenous human rights activist based in Mexico.

Following a rigorous review process, the international jury will select the finalists of the fourth Global Pluralism Award from among more than 200 nominations received from 60 countries. Ten finalists will be announced in the fall of 2023, with three winners receiving CAD $50,000 each to further their work in support of pluralism.

“As the Award enters its fourth cycle, we are deeply appreciative for the contributions of our incredible jurors who have generously shared their expertise over the years. We thank our outgoing Chair, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, for his skilled stewardship of the jury over the past six years, as well as our outgoing jurors. The new members bring valuable global perspectives about the extraordinary efforts required to advance pluralism in society. We are honoured they have joined our esteemed jury,” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism.

“To counteract concerning global trends of division and polarisation, it is vital to recognize and uphold the organizations and individuals that are actively demonstrating that an alternative is possible. I am honoured to be working with my fellow jurors to identify the next Award recipients, and celebrate global champions of mutual respect and pluralism,” said Marwan Muasher, Chair of the Global Pluralism Award jury.

Jury members are experts in a range of disciplines related to pluralism, including policymaking, peacebuilding, human rights, interreligious dialogue, migration, media and civil society. In their own careers, they are actively promoting greater equity and fighting exclusion. Jury members appreciate first-hand the extraordinary effort it takes to build societies where differences are valued and respected.

New jurors: (alphabetical by first name)

• Dr. Marwan Muasher, Vice President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,  Jordan (Chair)

• Ms. Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation, Canada

• Ms. Yásnaya Elena Aguilar Gil, Ayuujk linguist, writer, translator and Indigenous human rights activist, Mexico

Returning jurors: (alphabetical by first name)

• Ambassador Annika Söder, Chair, European Institute of Peace, Sweden

• Ms. Kim Ghattas, Author and journalist, Lebanon

• Bishop Precious Omuku, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Representative on Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria

• The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, International expert on diversity and immigration,Canada

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Calina Ellwand,

Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism

+1-613-688-0137

[email protected]

Global Centre for Pluralism Announces new Global Pluralism Award Cycle

Global Centre for Pluralism Announces new Global Pluralism Award Cycle

Submissions now accepted for the 2023 Awards

April 11, 2022, Ottawa and Canada –The Global Centre for Pluralism is launching the fourth cycle of its flagship Global Pluralism Award and inviting Individuals, organizations, business and government bodies that are doing exceptional work to build thriving, diverse societies to apply. Submissions and nominations are now being accepted at award.pluralism.ca until May 31, 2022.

Through creative and high-impact initiatives, Global Pluralism Award recipients are building societies where differences are genuinely respected and valued. Individuals, businesses, academics, civil society and government bodies from around the world are eligible and can either apply or be nominated for the Award. Three winners are chosen by an independent, international Jury to share a prize pool totalling $150,000 CAD. The Centre seeks to amplify the winners’ work with support such as media opportunities, partnership development and mentorship.

“Each cycle, we identify pluralism champions that exemplify the positive responses to diversity that we know to be essential for a more equal and just world. As we enter the third year of a pandemic that deepened existing inequalities, it is more important than ever to shine a light on exceptional examples of pluralism in action and support and amplify their work,” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism. 

Last cycle, the Global Pluralism Award received nearly 500 applications from across 70 countries. Winners included Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel – a network of bilingual and integrated schools bringing together Jewish and Arab students; Namati Kenya – an organization advancing citizenship rights and access to justice for Kenya’s minority communities; and Puja Kapai (Hong Kong) – a law professor promoting equal rights for Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities. The Award laureates offer global examples from a range of fields of practice that demonstrate how to make pluralism a reality for future generations.

The Global Pluralism Award is an initiative of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Founded in Ottawa by His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Centre was created to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.

Following a thorough selection and due diligence process, winners will be announced in the fall of 2023.

Nominate a recipient or apply directly at award.pluralism.ca until May 31, 2022.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Tanja Maleska, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism [email protected]

+1-343-996-7296

An Afro Latina’s mission to embrace natural hair gets push from beauty giant

An Afro Latina’s mission to embrace natural hair gets push from beauty giant

February 23rd, 2022

By Sheyla Baez

After making a name for herself through social media and salons, Dominican American Carolina Contreras’ upcoming Miss Rizos products will be sold at the retailer Sephora.

Ease and joy are two things that Carolina Contreras, founder and CEO of Miss Rizos, hopes to bring to people through her upcoming products designed for curly and Afro-textured hair.

“I knew, I knew, that what we had was special. And I knew there was an empty sort of shelf both online and in stores kind of waiting for this product to happen,” she said.

Contreras, who is Dominican American, will see her products sold at the beauty retailer Sephora. It’s part of Sephora’s 2022 Accelerate brand incubator program, focused on mentoring and supporting upcoming beauty entrepreneurs.

Beyond hair care, Contreras sees her Miss Rizos products as activism. She first became known through her blog, Miss Rizos, celebrating natural hair, as well as through her social media presence and a couple of hair salons she opened.

Embracing blackness, but what about hair?

The concept of Miss Rizos — rizos means curls in Spanish — originated in 2011. After college, Contreras decided to spend time in the Dominican Republic, where she was born.

She wanted to learn what Blackness within the Dominican diaspora meant; it wasn’t a topic openly discussed in the community, she said. A two-month trip turned into a 10-year adventure.

In the Dominican Republic, the routine blowouts to straighten her hair did not last, and choosing between enjoying a beach day and keeping her hair straight became a burden.

The entire premise of moving back to her home country was to learn about her Afro Latino roots, but she was holding back on the one thing that would bring her closer to it — her hair.

Contreras said that one day, two college professors approached her while she was at the beach. They suggested she should stop sunbathing before her skin got too dark. Contreras was not oblivious to the prevalent issue of colorism in her home country. She let them know she was not worried about getting darker, among many other things, but what they later told her felt like a slap in the face.

“You talk about embracing blackness, but you relax your hair,” she said they told her.

That became Contreras’ wake-up call. She realized she wasn’t straightening her hair because it was her choice — it was the only thing she knew. Her mother would relax her hair from a very young age. Whenever her natural hair growth would start coming in and money wasn’t tight, a hair relaxer was the go-to thing. With time, straight hair was the ultimate definition of beauty.

After the comments by the professors, she began to cut her hair and learned to style it in its natural, curly form. As she became in touch with her Blackness, she also found her purpose. 

Contreras’ online community grew as she taught women how to care for their hair on social media and erase the negative connotations associated with Afro-textured hair.

As she shared her hair journey on her blog, people in the Dominican Republic would ask her if she could do the same with their hair. The only experience she had, beside styling her own hair, was a few things she had picked up from working in her aunt’s salon in the United States. 

In 2014, Contreras opened one of the first hair salons for Afro-textured and curly hair in the Dominican Republic. The salon was extremely successful, and in 2019 she opened her second salon, Miss Rizos NYC, in Washington Heights. The New York City salon closed during the pandemic, though she plans to reopen it at some point.

Before applying to the Sephora Accelerate program, creating her hair care line was always top of mind. She had tried in the Dominican Republic, but things did not work out.

The Sephora program is in its early stage, so Contreras can’t say much about what the final hair care line will include.

“I want people to be able to glide their hands through their hair with our products and to feel sort of this ease and joy around their curls,” she said, stressing her goal of celebrating Afro-textured hair.

When customers pick up the product, Contreras wants them to know and feel it’s a Dominican-owned product line.

Funding women of color

The Accelerate program is now in its seventh year and has evolved to focus on Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs. This year’s program will launch 10 BIPOC beauty brands.

Accessing funds is especially difficult, especially for women. According to Crunchbase data, “for the first eight months of 2021, companies with solely female founders raised just 2.2 percent of all venture funding.”

“To be an entrepreneur is one of the hardest things,” said Priya Venkatesh, senior vice president of merchandising at Sephora. “America offers a great marketplace for entrepreneurs; however, it is hard. You have to get capital, You have to have connections. No one’s born with a knowledge of ‘Let me create a brand from scratch,’ there’s many aspects to it.”

While the brands from previous Accelerate programs weren’t always sold at Sephora, the program has pivoted and committed to launch all brands in Sephora in line with its commitment to dedicate 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned businesses. 

Global Centre for Pluralism announces the 2021 Global Pluralism Award Winners

Global Centre for Pluralism announces 2021 Global Pluralism Award Winners

Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel (Israel), Namati Kenya (Kenya) and Puja Kapai (Hong Kong) awarded for outstanding achievements in promoting inclusion worldwide

February 23, 2021, Ottawa, Canada – Today, the Global Centre for Pluralism announced three winners of the 2021 Global Pluralism Award, listed alphabetically: Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel – a network of bilingual and integrated schools that foster a community of inclusion, cooperation and respect among Jewish and Arab students; Namati Kenya – an organization advancing citizenship rights and access to justice for Kenya’s minority communities; and Puja Kapai (Hong Kong) – a lawyer, professor and social justice advocate challenging gendered and racialized cultural norms to promote equal rights for Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities.

“Hand in Hand is deeply moved and honoured to be selected as a Global Pluralism Award winner and for this recognition of our work promoting pluralism, equality, and shared society in Israel,” said CEO Hand in Hand, Dani Elazar. “Now, more than ever, the time is ripe to advance initiatives which foster equality and combat the deep-seated divisions within Israel’s education system and Israeli society at large.”

“Access to identification documents is the opener to inclusion – whether in economic, social, or political domains,” said Mustafa Mahmoud, Senior Program Manager for Namati Kenya’s Citizenship Justice program. “Receiving the Global Pluralism Award is an honour, to be recognized for our work supporting diverse minority communities in Kenya to overcome discrimination in securing their own ID cards and to push for equal access to identification for all.”

“I am most humbled to receive the Global Pluralism Award. By honouring my work in advancing social justice in relation to race, gender and minority rights, the Award renders visible the lived realities of all those who are routinely marginalised and experience systemic exclusion and discrimination in nearly every sphere of life. The Award also signals the responsibilities we each carry to begin the journey of inclusion, acceptance and pluralism at home,” said Puja Kapai, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong.

The Global Pluralism Award celebrates pluralism in action. As a result of their sustained achievements to promote respect across differences, the Award winners and seven honourable mention recipients are helping to build more inclusive societies, in which human diversity is valued and thrives.

The Global Centre for Pluralism received 500 nominations spanning 70 countries for the 2021 Global Pluralism Award. This year’s winners underwent a rigorous review process by an independent, international jury of experts from various disciplines related to pluralism and have made extraordinary strides to advance pluralism through education, legal empowerment and minority rights. The Global Centre for Pluralism, founded by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada, recognized the three winners and seven honourable mentions at a virtual award ceremony today. The winners were each granted $50,000 and in-kind support to further their work in promoting more inclusive, just societies.

“We live in times of great division and inequity.  We need to push back against these trends.  The 2021 Awardees offer us tangible and innovative examples of pluralism in action.  They demonstrate courage and creativity in the face of extraordinary challenges and in times of conflict and crisis.  Their stories have the capacity to inspire us to take action towards pluralism in our own spaces.  The Centre is deeply honoured to be supporting their work.” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism.  

“The jury is delighted to be recognizing the 2021 Global Pluralism Award winners, selected from amongst hundreds of submissions. They are examples of what contagious change can be inspired by the creative and human instinct of pluralism, of acting together rather than apart,” said the Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Award Jury.

Past winners include Deborah Ahenkorah (2019) – a children’s book publisher from Ghana championing the importance of African literature for children; Leyner Palacios Asprilla (2017) – founder of the Committee for the Rights of Bojayá Victims, which represents 11,000 victims from the Colombian conflict; and Daniel Webb (2017) – Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre, who combines legal action, medica advocacy, public campaigns and United Nations engagement to tackle the offshore detention issue in Australia.

About the 2021 Global Pluralism Award Winners:

  • Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel (Israel) is a network of integrated, bilingual and multicultural schools equipping a new generation to live together in cooperation and respect.  In these schools, Hebrew and Arabic languages have equal status, as do both cultures and national narratives. With over 2,000 students and supported by a community of active citizens who come together in solidarity and dialogue, Hand in Hand is working to build a shared, inclusive society.
  • Namati Kenya (Kenya) uses legal empowerment to aid historically excluded communities who lack national identification documents needed to access even the most basic services.  Since 2013, Namati Kenya has supported more than 12,000 Kenyans in efforts to obtain these legal identity documents. Through a network of community paralegals, the organization builds legal awareness, aiming to empower communities to overcome discrimination and cultivate inclusivity and belonging.

  • Ms. Puja Kapai (Hong Kong) is an academic, lawyer and social justice advocate who challenges gendered and racialized cultural norms and champions equal rights for Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities. Through an intersectional approach that combines research, advocacy and grassroots mobilization, Ms. Kapai has garnered unprecedented attention to the status of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, contributing to the abolishment of racially segregated schools for ethnic minority children.

About the 2021 Global Pluralism Award Honourable Mentions:

  • All Out (Global) is a global LGBT+ movement committed to creating a world where nobody must sacrifice their family, freedom, safety or dignity because of who they are or who they love. Their work contributes to pluralism and the respect for diversity by building positive narratives about LGBT+ lives around the world, changing hearts and minds among potential allies and ultimately contributing to better lived experiences for LGBT+ communities.
  • ArtLords (Afghanistan) combines street art and activism to facilitate social transformation and trauma healing. Founded in Afghanistan, ArtLords’ collective of ‘artivists’ have painted over 2,000 murals across the country’s bomb-blast walls, spreading messages of peace, justice and tolerance. ArtLords is also pivoting their work to new global contexts, including Afghan refugee communities, with a vision to one day hold exhibitions around the world.
  • Ms. Carolina Contreras (Dominican Republic) is a social entrepreneur who empowers Afro-Latinxs by redefining beauty standards through Miss Rizos(in English, “Miss Curls”), a global movement that seeks to normalize and celebrate natural hair. With natural hair salons and youth empowerment initiatives in Santo Domingo and New York City, Ms. Contreras is empowering thousands of women and girls to celebrate diversity, challenge stereotypes and rewrite a deeply embedded colonial narrative about what it means to be beautiful.
  • Community Building Mitrovica (Kosovo) is a grassroots organization that creates safe spaces for dialogue and relationship-building across ethnic lines in northern Kosovo. Working in Mitrovica, a city known for its ethnic diversity and ethnic divides, the organization connects Serbian and Albanian communities that have been separated by war and mistrust. By gathering citizens around issues of peacebuilding, human rights and economic development, Community Building Mitrovica builds links of trust and contributes to advancing a pluralist society.
  • Mr. Lenin Raghuvanshi (India) is a human rights defender working to advance the rights of India’s most marginalized communities. He is co-founder of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, an inclusive social movement that challenges the patriarchy and the caste system. Mr. Raghuvanshi works at the village level across 5 states in northern India to strengthen local institutions, promote human rights and to build connections across the society.
  • Ms. Rose LeMay (Canada) is an educator from the Taku River Tlingit First Nation and the CEO and founder of Indigenous Reconciliation Group. Through her organization, Ms. LeMay works to change the mindsets of non-Indigenous Canadians, encouraging them to take the first steps towards reconciliation. Ms. LeMay has spent her career advocating for Indigenous inclusion and has educated and coached thousands of Canadians on cultural competence and anti-racism.
  • Mr. Trésor Nzengu Mpauni (Malawi), also known as Menes la Plume, is a Congolese hip-hop artist and slam poet living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, who uses his talents to raise awareness on issues surrounding refugees. Mr. Mpauni is the founder of Tumaini Festival, the only international arts and music festival based at a refugee camp, promoting intercultural harmony and greater understanding of the refugee experience. Since 2014, he has attracted hundreds of performers and thousands of attendees from around the world to what is today one of Malawi’s premier festivals.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Tanja Maleska, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism [email protected]
+1-343-996-7296

Puja Kapai featured at TEDxTinHauWomen 2021

Puja Kapai featured at TEDxTinHauWomen 2021

December 10, 2021

On December 10th, Puja Kapai was featured as a speaker at TEDxTinHauWoman, the only annual TEDx event dedicated to women in Hong Kong. The event theme was “What Matters Now”, focused on issues that have emerged as the most important ones in the light of the pandemic- Self Care, Purpose and Perspective.

“How the COVID crisis can be an opportunity for justice”: Puja Kapai calls COVID-19 the great amplifier of social injustice. During the pandemic, discrimination, child abuse, and gender-based violence have disproportionately impacted those living on the margins of society. How can this be a learning moment for action before the next crisis strikes?

Global Centre for Pluralism announces finalists for 2021 Global Pluralism Award

Global Centre for Pluralism announces finalists for 2021 Global Pluralism Award

10 global finalists selected for contributions to advancing pluralism and respect for diversity worldwide.

November 08, 2021, Ottawa, Canada – The Global Centre for Pluralism today announced the 10 finalists for the 2021 Global Pluralism Award, an honour that celebrates excellence in the field of pluralism. The Award is presented once every two years to individuals, organizations and governments around the world for exemplary achievements in building more inclusive societies where diversity is protected.

“The Centre is inspired by the creativity and resilience of this year’s finalists, whose achievements offer tangible, inspiring examples of the power of pluralism in today’s world,” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism. “Amidst troubling global trends of division and reduced civic space, these finalists are doing incredible work to raise awareness, build connections, and change minds, narratives, and structures.”

The Global Centre for Pluralism received 500 nominations spanning 70 countries for the 2021 Global Pluralism Award. Nominees undergo a rigorous review process and are selected by an independent, international jury of experts from disciplines related to pluralism.

“Pluralism is a description of the respect, co-operation and shared purpose which make communities work,” said the Right Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada, and Jury Chair. “These finalists have made a remarkable contribution to pluralism. They show originality and courage in dealing with challenges of injustice, inequality and exclusion in today’s world.” 

In Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Israel, India, Kenya, Hong Kong, Canada, Malawi, and globally—the 2021 finalists have made extraordinary strides to advance pluralism through education, community building, socio-economic development, and the arts.

“Pluralism is what will bind us together and help us maintain our diversity and our communities,” said Kim Ghattas, Emmy-Award winning journalist and Juror of the 2021 Global Pluralism Award. “The Global Pluralism Award reminds us of the incredible work that so many people are doing to advance pluralism across the globe. The sheer courage of these finalists is humbling and gives me a lot of hope.” 

Three Pluralism Award winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony in February 2022. Each winner will receive a prize of CAD $50,000 to further their work in support of pluralism.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:

Tanja Maleska

Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism

[email protected]
+1-343-996-7296