Engagement with 2017 Global Pluralism Award Recipients

As part of the support provided to 2017 Award recipients, the Centre has engaged with winners and honourable mention recipients in a series of projects and awareness raising activities throughout 2018.

Leyner Palacios Asprilla  | Colombia

Founder, Committee for the Rights of Bojayá Victims

Ceremony & Pluralism and Peace in Colombia workshop series

May 10th to 14th, 2018

Bojayá, Colombia

The Committee for the Rights of the Victims of Bojayá and the Centre held a series of workshops on the practical application of pluralism to the implementation of the peace accords in the territory of Bojayá. The workshops were organized for leaders of the 34 indigenous and 18 Afro-Colombian communities to equip them with an in-depth knowledge of institutional mechanisms and legislation contained in the Constitution, decrees on indigenous semi-autonomy and Afro self-government, and the ethnic chapter of the peace accords to advance respect for victims’ rights and a pluralist agenda.

The concluding ceremony included a symbolic presentation of the Global Pluralism Award to the communities of Bojayá and was attended by local and regional government officials, as well as representatives from the international community, including UNHCHR and the Canadian Embassy in Colombia.

Following the ceremony, Centre staff visited the Bella Vista Church, where the massacre of Bojayá took place, which is being transformed into a place of memory and a community centre. The church is being renovated with funds from the Award so that it can become a place for community-building and training on pluralism and its contribution to peace and reconciliation.

The series of workshops and the ceremony took place shortly after the 16th anniversary of the massacre of Bojayá, what is known to be the most brutal attack in Colombia’s 52-year conflict, as 79 people, 32 of which were relatives of Leyner, were killed at the hands of the FARC.

“Pluralism and Peace” Symposium

May 16th to 18th, 2018

Cali, Colombia

The Universidad Autónoma de Occidente de Cali (Western Autonomous University of Cali) organized the symposium “Pluralism and Peace” aimed at learning about the experiences on reconciliation and institutional reforms from other post-conflict contexts.

Leyner Palacios’ Award inspired the University to choose pluralism as the main theme for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The symposium was the first of a series of events for academics, students, and civil society and human rights activists to reflect on the practical applications of pluralism for Colombia in the aftermath of the peace agreement with the FARC in 2016 and to promote national reconciliation. Virginie Laurent from the University of Los Andes, author of a Colombia case study commissioned by the Centre as part of its “Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies” series, presented the conclusions of the paper. Centre staff conducted a pluralism lens workshop with more than 100 participants and joined a series of community dialogues with Afro and indigenous communities in the Cauca Valley.

In September 2018, the University hosted the Hispanic-American University Debate Competition, a week of debates in which students from 12 universities from across Latin America debated on how to build more pluralistic societies.

Pluralism and Peace Forum

May 22nd, 2018

Bogotá, Colombia

The “Pluralism and Peace in Colombia” forum, hosted in partnership with the Embassy of Canada in Colombia, analyzed the effects that the socioeconomic and political inclusion of indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians and other minorities can have on lasting reconciliation and peace in Colombia. The forum included a panel discussion, which focused on the contribution that pluralism can make to sustainable peace and reconciliation in Colombia. Panellists included Chargé-de-affairs of the Embassy of Canada in Colombia, Ryan Clark; Deputy Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia Guillermo Martínez-Maldonado; Director of the National Centre for Memory, Gonzalo Sánchez; Human Rights Advisor at the Office of the President of Colombia, Valentina Erazo. Following the panel, in a one-on-one dialogue with Colombian journalist Juanita Leon, Leyner provided his insights on how to address these issues.

Read more about Leyner Palacios Asprilla

Alice Wairimu Nderitu | Kenya

Former commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and a co-founder of the Uwiano Platform for Peace

Book Launch and Dialogue

February 27th, 2018

Ottawa, Canada

The Centre, in partnership with the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, hosted the launch of Alice’s Nderitu’s book KenyaBridging Ethnic Divides: A Commissioner’s Experience on Cohesion and Integration. The book takes readers behind the scenes of efforts to build peace and cohesion between different ethnic and racial communities in Kenya, as she worked with elders, mediated between political leaders at the highest level and co-founded Uwiano Platform for Peace, an innovative conflict prevention tool created after the post-election violence of 2007-2008 and leading up to Kenya’s 2013 general elections.

The event focused on lessons that can be learned from Kenya’s experience to inform other conflict-afflicted countries grappling with the challenges of conflict mediation, reconciliation and post-conflict institutional reform.

Watch more about this event here.

OXSCIE 2018 Symposium

June 19th – 20th, 2018

Oxford, England

Aga Khan Foundation and the Global Centre for Pluralism partnered with the University of Oxford to host the second annual Oxford Symposium on Comparative and International Education (OXSCIE) 2018. Alice Nderitu was invited to deliver the keynote address. The symposium brought together 150 participants from five sectors including education policy makers (i.e. ministries, think tanks, UN agencies and civil society), academics and researchers, donors, education practitioners (i.e. students, teacher and school leaders) and public opinion makers (i.e. filmmakers, journalists and activists).

The keynote address framed the discussions over the course of two days, inviting participants to consider the role of educators and educational systems in fostering the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes needed for students to succeed and thrive in conditions of uncertainty – to turn uncertainty into moments of opportunity and ‘human agency.’

Read Alice’s speech here

Women in Armed Conflict Workshop

August 14th – 15th, 2018

Nairobi, Kenya

Alice Nderitu is developing a manual for women community mediators of armed conflict in Africa. In August, the Centre and Alice Nderitu organized a workshop with 20 women from six African countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)) who are engaged in community-level mediation, international experts from the field of women, peace and security, and academics from the University of Nairobi and Zimbabwe, in order to review the draft manual and provide input and feedback. The final manual will be piloted in November.

The objectives of the manual are to train women as community-level mediators of peace through pluralism; develop a framework from which to create a pluralistic inclusive culture and practice of women working as mediators of armed conflict at the community level; and develop policy recommendations aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of women mediating peace using a pluralistic approach to be shared with among others.

The participants (approximately 20) were largely women from the African countries mentioned above who work in the field of women, peace and security as well as practitioners, including representatives from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in Kenya. Over the course of the workshop, the group reviewed the draft manual and provided input and feedback.

Read more about Alice Nderitu Wairimu

Daniel Webb | Australia

Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre

Legal Action to Secure Medical Care and Reunite Refugee Families

Five years of detention has resulted in a major health crisis in Australia’s offshore detention centres on Manus and Nauru. In response to this appalling and rapidly deteriorating situation, the Human Rights Law Centre assembled a coalition of 11 pro bono law firms. Together with this coalition and their partners at the National Justice Project and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, they have run a series of urgent medical neglect cases in the Federal Court.

In just three months, the Human Rights Centre secured urgent transfers to Australia for over 120 people, including 45 children. They have won every single case we filed, and this work continues to provide a lifeline for acutely unwell people still stranded on Nauru and Manus.

They have also continued to lead High Court action preventing over 500 people, including close to 200 children, from being returned to serious harm on Nauru and Manus.

Watch Daniel’s interview on Sky News Australia speaking about children in Nauru.

#KidsofNauru Campaign and International Advocacy

In June 2018,  142 children were still being  held in Australia’s offshore detention camp on Nauru. The Human Rights Law Centre joined with World Vision, GetUp!, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Refugee Council of Australia, and
doctors from around the country to launch a major public campaign to end the detention of children on Nauru.

The #KidsOffNauru campaign had two goals: to bring all refugee children on Nauru to safety by the end of 2018, and to increase public support for an end to Australia’s offshore detention policies. The Human Rights Law Centre played a critical role in the campaign through strategic advocacy, political outreach and by advising and supporting refugee families on Nauru, ensuring they understood the risks involved in being part of the campaign and preparing them for their interaction with the media.

The campaign triggered a dramatic shift in public opinion which, together with the court actions run by Daniel Webb and his team and partners, has secured freedom in Australia for almost every child previously detained on Nauru.

In addition, Daniel Webb addressed the UN Human Rights Council to secure unprecedented international scrutiny of Australia’s deterrence policies. Videos of Daniel’s speeches have generated over half a million views online and substantial international media coverage.

6 Degrees

September 25th, 2018

Toronto, Canada

Daniel Webb was invited to present on a panel at the 6 Degrees Conference, the flagship annual conference of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, held in Toronto. The panel, entitled “Where Inclusion Happens” featured the Mayor of Thessaloniki, the former Mayor of Lampedusa e Linosa (Italy), the Diversity Engagement Coordinator for the Town of Ajax (Ontario) and the CEO of Grupo Reinventando a México (Mexico), alongside Daniel, discussing the unique challenges they face promoting more inclusion in their respective communities.

International Metropolis Conference and report Pre-launch

October 29th – November 7th, 2018

Sydney & Melbourne, Australia

The International Metropolis Conference provides a unique platform to debate, discuss and critique policy approaches, practice and research in relation to migration. Metropolis 2018 generated global interest and influence as it gathered 750 Australian and international experts, academics, business leaders, government, key decision makers and community organizations. The Centre and the Human Rights Law Centre, where Daniel is Director of Legal Advocacy, used this platform to pre-launch a report entitled ‘Ripped Apart: The Permanent Separation of Refugee Families in Australia’, that will give the issue a human face by sharing the stories of families directly affected. The report will also support these personal voices with careful research documenting the health, economic and social costs of separating refugee families. Daniel Webb is working with a highly qualified, cross-disciplinary team of doctors, international lawyers, economists and affected families to produce a report that is compelling, authentic, and targeted towards change.

Read more about Daniel Webb

Wapikoni | Canada

Non-profit organization

German Marshall Fund Inclusive Leadership Summit

September 27th – 28th 2018

Paris, France

The Centre was a partner in the inaugural German Marshall Fund Inclusive Leadership Forum that took place at the George C. Marshall Center of the United States Embassy in Paris, France. Daniel Cervan-Gil, Manager of Programs shared the Centre’s perspective on how multi-sectorial leadership is crucial to promoting more pluralistic societies at a panel discussion hosted by the Canadian Embassy in France. Other panelists included Thierry Déau, CEO of Meridiam and Karen Donfried, President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Organized over two days of knowledge sharing and co-creation, the summit addressed topics such as the changing world of leadership networks (new research, new technologies); activating networks; and approaches to grow, sustain, and plan succession for leadership networks. The summit led to enhanced connectivity and collaboration across Europe, the United States and for the first time, Canada. The Centre was pleased to support the participation of the Canadian organization Wapikoni Mobile, 2017 Pluralism Award honourable mention recipient. Odile Joannette, Executive Director of Wapikoni and Ariel Waskewitch, one of the organization’s young filmmakers, shared the Canadian experience from the perspective of indigenous communities. Ariel, from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Alberta, delighted participants with a traditional dance performance.

Read more about Wapikoni

Welcoming America | United States

Non-profit organization

Fundamental Rights Forum 2018

September 25th – 27th, 2018

Vienna, Austria

The Centre co-organized a session on whole-of-society approaches to migrant inclusion in local and national inclusion policies at the 2018 Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna. Organized by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Forum offered three days of open sessions, inspiring talks and panel debates, bringing together leading European and global agents for change to debate the rise of populism in Europe and challenges facing human rights.

In partnership with the European Program for Integration and Migration (EPIM), the session explored alternative ways to think of migrant inclusion from the perspective of community cohesion in diverse European societies and innovative approaches that aim for collective and individual improvements of quality of life and social relationships of all members of the society-migrants included.

Global Pluralism Award honourable mention recipient, Welcoming America, was represented by its founder David Lubell, now Founding Director of the Welcoming International Initiative. David shared his experience of fostering a welcoming culture in the US, in particular in communities that have reacted negatively towards newcomers, as well as those that are neither hostile nor welcoming towards newcomers. Using a step-by-step approach , by first engaging with a small group of community leaders (for e.g. Baptist Churches in Nashville), progressively engaging with the broader society and then generating evidence on how communities are benefiting (economically) from a welcoming climate for migrants and all residents, Welcoming America has gradually contributed to system change. During the session, Lubell also introduced the organization’s Welcoming certification for cities.

Read more about Welcoming America