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Meredith Preston McGhie, seen here at a Global Pluralism Award ceremony, has supported peace-building and pluralism projects in India, Thailand, Myanmar, Kosovo, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Kenya.

AKDN / Mo Govindji

What is the Centre’s Global Pluralism Award and how does it work?

Our Global Pluralism Award recognises and supports the extraordinary achievements of organisations, individuals and governments who are finding innovative ways of demonstrating that diversity in society is a tremendous asset. The recipients’ achievements offer tangible and inspiring examples of how we can all work towards pluralism in our everyday lives. Take Deborah Ahenkorah of Ghana, one of the 2019 winners, who saw the lack of representation of African stories and characters in children’s books and decided to start her own publishing house and writer’s prize to try to change the landscape of children’s book publishing on the continent and around the world.

We are now in our third cycle of the Award. We issue a global call for nominations every other year. Nominations that we receive go through a rigorous screening and due diligence process, which includes in-country visits. Ten recipients (three winners and seven honourable mentions) are selected by the independent, international jury chaired by the Rt. Honourable Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada. Winners are each granted $50,000 CAD to advance their work to promote pluralism.

Our most recent call for nominations closed in June of this year. Currently, submissions are being reviewed and screened ahead of the first meeting of the Jury.

What sort of initiatives do you look for in the Global Pluralism Award?

The Award looks to surface individuals, corporations, academics, civil society organisations and governments from around the world that are working in creative and high-impact ways to build societies where everyone belongs.

Since we strongly believe that pluralism must be promoted by a wide range of actors from multiple disciplines, the Award is not restricted to any one sector or activity. Rather we are looking at the diverse and multi-faceted ways that pluralism is being championed. For instance, we have had past recipients working in everything from building apps for the deaf community (Hand Talk, Brazil), to promoting peace through classical music training (Afghanistan National Institute of Music), to engaging youth in cross-cultural dialogue online (Soliya, United States).

The winners of the Award have gone on to some awe-inspiring achievements. Leyner Palacios Asprilla of Colombia, a 2017 winner, was recently named the new commissioner for the Colombian Truth Commission, as part of the ongoing peace process in that country.