Award Week 2023
From November 13th to 17th, the Global Centre for Pluralism welcomed the 2023 Global Pluralism Award winners and honourable mention recipients to Ottawa for a week of exciting events. The highlight of the week, the Global Pluralism Award Ceremony, took place on November 14th at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, Canada. Accompanied by members of the Centre’s Board of Directors, our Secretary General, Meredith Preston McGhie and Jury Chair, Dr. Marwan Muasher presented the Award to the three winners and seven honourable mention recipients.
Read more about Award Week 2023 below!
Esther Omam is a peacebuilder, mediator and human rights defender and winner of the 2023 Global Pluralism Award. She founded Reach Out Cameroon in 1996 to support vulnerable populations in underserved communities during the HIV epidemic. In response to the Anglophone crisis, she shifted focus to integrate humanitarian programming. Today, the organization has served over 1,700,000 people in hundreds of remote communities, some of them still untouched by any other organization. As the Anglophone crisis intensified, Esther incorporated peacebuilding into her approach, mobilizing and empowering women and youth to contribute to ending the conflict.
Oday Karsh is the General Director of REFORM: The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development, one of the 2023 Global Pluralism Award winners. REFORM is a non-governmental organization building solidarity between groups in Palestine by creating safe spaces for dialogue and connections between different areas and groups in Palestine, including marginalized community members and decision-makers. They are focused on increasing cohesion and solidarity between different Palestinian groups, especially those who are most polarized.
Jesús Herrera is the Director of Intercultural Advocacy at Red de Intérpretes y Promotores Interculturales Asociación Civil (REDIN), one of the 2023 Global Pluralism Award winners. REDIN is an Indigenous youth collective in Oaxaca, Mexico tackling exclusion by providing otherwise unavailable Indigenous language interpretation to those involved in legal proceedings. Since 2019, REDIN has trained more than 120 Indigenous youth as interpreters and has assisted more than 800 Indigenous people in their judicial processes.
Meghan Brown is the Inclusive Politics Lead at Build Up. She supports elections and democratisation in the Somali region and always tries to do so with a peacebuilding approach by ensuring all support contributes to a locally owned and inclusive democratisation process. Build Up works with peacebuilding institutions and a network of peace innovators to tackle polarization and make peacebuilding processes more inclusive of diverse voices and perspectives with a specific focus on digital technologies.
Rev. Toni Kruger Ayebazibwe
Rev. Toni Kruger Ayebazibwe is the Executive Director of The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions (GIN-SSOGIE), which supports LGBTIQ+ people of faith from the Global South and East to advocate for an end to violence and persecution against sexual and gender minorities. Toni brings a range of expertise stretching from management to technology and design and theology. She has a long history of LGBTI activism, both in HIV prevention work and in faith.
Lea Baroudi is a peace mediator using art, culture and social enterprise to provide Lebanese youth with the opportunity to build a future outside of violent extremism and sectarianism. She is a founding Member and Director of MARCH Lebanon since 2012, a Lebanese non-profit organization focusing on sectarian conflict resolution, sustainable peace building including the women peace and security agenda.
Luiza Wosgrau is a Brazilian social entrepreneur and her purpose is to transform her power into impact, working with socio-environmental causes. She is currently the Communications Manager at Politize! Civic Education Institute, a non-partisan and non-profit organization tackling polarization in Brazil by producing free and unbiased political education, training civic leaders to solve public policy problems and training teachers to educate youth to become engaged citizens.
On the first day of Award Week, Centre staff brought Award recipients to our headquarters at 330 Sussex Drive to meet for the first time and talk about pluralism. This workshop was meant to introduce recipients to the Centre’s mission and pluralism framework in greater depth, and engage recipients in dialogue about the meaning of pluralism within their work. A welcome blessing and smudge was provided by Elder Verna McGregor, Algonquin – Omamawinini from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation near Maniwaki, Quebec. Verna has worked with the Elders in the holding of Algonquin language symposiums and also traditional native gatherings.
Closer to the end of Award Week, Centre staff organized an additional workshop that provided an opportunity for recipients to further share with each other about their work, barriers, challenges, and effective solutions.
In Conversation with 2023 Global Pluralism Award Laureates
Women, Peace and Security: Challenges and Strategies
On Wednesday November 15th, 2023, the Centre hosted a panel discussion with 2023 Global Pluralism Award laureates Esther Omam, Lea Baroudi and Oday Karsh, who all lead civil society movements that seek to build inclusive and peaceful societies in their respective communities.
Opening remarks were given by:
Opening Remarks by:
- Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General, Global Centre for Pluralism
- Amb. Jacqueline O’Neill, Ambassador for Women Peace and Security, Government of Canada
Bringing insights from their lived and professional experiences, laureates discussed challenges and strategies in the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Navigating Queer Identities and Faith: Are Spaces for Inclusion and Pluralism Possible?
Organized in partnership with The United Church of Canada and Dignity Network Canada, this panel discussion on the intersection of faith and queer identity featured Rev. Toni Kruger Ayebazibwe from The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions (GIN-SSOGIE).
The panel took place November 15th, 2023 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and it explored spirituality as a tool for recognizing, protecting, and supporting the human rights of all. Participants included:
- Doug Kerr – Executive Director, Dignity Network (Moderator)
- Jane Thirikwa – Program Coordinator, Global Advocacy 2SLGBTQIA+, The United Church of Canada (Panelist)
The highlight of the week was the Global Pluralism Award Ceremony, held at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa on November 14th. Accompanied by members of the Centre’s Board of Directors, our Secretary General, Meredith Preston McGhie and Jury Chair, Dr. Marwan Muasher presented the Award to the three winners and seven honourable mention recipients. A welcome blessing was given by Elder Claudette Commanda, and remarks were given by Meredith Preston McGhie and Board Member Princess Zahra Aga Khan.
Watch the Ceremony!