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:

About the 2021 Global Pluralism Award Honourable Mentions:


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


Puja Kapai featured at TEDxTinHauWomen 2021


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