Deborah Ahenkorah (Ghana), the Center for Social Integrity (Myanmar) and ‘Learning History That Is Not Yet History’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) recognized as outstanding leaders promoting inclusion worldwide
Ottawa, Canada – October 15, 2019 – Today, the Global Centre for Pluralism announced the three winners of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award: Deborah Ahenkorah – a young Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher bringing African children’s stories to life; the Center for Social Integrity – an organization giving youth from conflict-affected regions in Myanmar the skills and voice to be leaders for change amidst the many overlapping conflicts ongoing in the country; and ‘Learning History that is not yet History’ – a network of history educators and specialists in the Balkans pioneering a new approach to teaching the controversial history of conflict.
Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, said, “The Centre is honoured to be supporting the work of this year’s award winners. Their creative initiatives offer hope that negative trends toward exclusion and division can be reversed. The impact of their work is proof that we can build more richly diverse, peaceful and inclusive societies. These are examples we can all learn from.”
Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Award Jury, said, “The jury was inspired by the vital work of the award winners and the hundreds of impressive submissions received. They are all deeply committed to equipping the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and empathy to respond to the biggest challenges to pluralism today and in the future.”
The Global Pluralism Award celebrates pluralism in action. As a result of their sustained achievements to promote respect across differences, the Award winners are helping to build more inclusive societies, in which human diversity is valued and thrives.
Award winner, Deborah Ahenkorah said, “I feel incredibly blessed to receive this award and after a decade of work championing the importance of African literature for children, this honour highlights how much closer we are to the goal of placing African
children’s literature on a deserving global pedestal. I continue to look forward to that day when you can walk into a bookstore anywhere in the world and find incredible African stories available for all.”
Aung Kyaw Moe, Executive Director of the award winner, Center for Social Integrity, said, “This award recognizes that change can come from within, and that what started out as a small-scale local initiative, can become a strong and meaningful movement. It is a great achievement to be able to depict Rohingya people advocating for tolerance and pluralism hand-in-hand with other ethnic and religious peoples. I hope that one day, diversity in Myanmar will not only be accepted but celebrated.”
Bojana Dujkovic, representative of the award winner, the ‘Learning History that is not yet History’ team said, “It is very significant to our team to be receiving international recognition for work we have been developing with minimal support for over 16 years. Dealing with the sensitive history of the 1990s Yugoslav wars in our classrooms is very difficult for teachers. We have personal connections to this topic and many, including this team, have buried the topic for decades. It is now the moment to face the past responsibly and to teach about the 1990s conflicts, in order to build a future of mutual understanding, peace and reconciliation.”
This year, the Global Centre for Pluralism received over 500 applications spanning 74 countries for the 2019 Global Pluralism Awards—more than double the submissions to the inaugural awards in 2017. All nominees undergo a rigorous review and jury selection process.
The Global Centre for Pluralism, founded by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada, will recognize the three winners and seven honourable mentions at an award ceremony on November 20, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. The three winners will each be granted $CAN50,000 and in-kind support to advance their work in promoting pluralism.
About the Global Centre for Pluralism
Founded in Ottawa by His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Global Centre for Pluralism is an independent, charitable organization. Inspired by Canada’s experience as a diverse and inclusive country, the Centre was created to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.
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