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Faith-based network based in South Africa selected for advancing inclusion and safety of LGBT+ people globally


OTTAWA, CANADA, Sept. 13, 2023 – Responding to the urgent need to support positive responses to diversity, the Global Centre for Pluralism today announced 10 finalists for the 2023 Global Pluralism Award. Selected from among 200 submissions from 60 countries, the Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions (GIN-SSOGIE) uses faith traditions as a source of insight to advocate for the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people globally.

“The creativity, courage and commitment shown by this year’s finalists is so important at this moment,” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism. “At a time of increasing polarization globally, it is critical to magnify the impacts of pluralism leaders who are creating more inclusive and peaceful societies where diversity is valued. I hope these examples spur us all to follow their example and take action.”

Nominees for the Award undergo rigorous review and finalists are selected by an independent, international jury of experts.

According to jury chair Dr. Marwan Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan: “The Award finalists have made outstanding contributions to fostering pluralism in some of the world’s most challenging contexts. They are strengthening their communities by helping to build a foundation of mutual respect, cooperation and shared purpose.”

At a time when attacks on LGBTIQ+ people are being carried out in the name of religion, GIN-SSOGIE has shown that faith can be a powerful lever for inclusion. Based in South Africa, this network of 480 individuals and organizations from 92 countries works to address the violence and persecution faced by sexual and gender minorities. GIN-SSOGIE’s advocacy programs amplify the voices of LGBTIQ+ people of faith from the Global South and East in high-level political spaces.

In addition to preparing members to engage religious leaders in dialogue, GIN-SSOGIE’s programs guide religious leaders as they explore new understandings of religious stories and build more inclusive faith communities. The organization also develops media, policy and theological resources that counter discriminatory religious narratives and promote allyship.

From among these 10 finalists, three winners and seven honourable mention recipients will be announced in October and recognized at a ceremony to be held in November in Ottawa, Canada. Each winner will receive a prize of $50,000 (CAD) to further their work in support of pluralism.


Meet the 2023 Global Pluralism Award finalists (alphabetical):

Build Up (Kenya/United States/Global) 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.

Deeyah Khan (Norway/United States) is a documentary filmmaker and activist countering extremism and fostering understanding and empathy across ideological, religious and racial divides.

Esther Omam (Cameroon) is a peacebuilder, mediator and human rights defender mobilizing women and youth from across Cameroon to advocate for an end to conflict and hostilities.

The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions – GIN-SSOGIE (South Africa/Global) 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.

India Love Project (India) challenges exclusion and prejudice in India by sharing love stories of non-traditional unions between interfaith, inter-caste and LGBTQ+ couples on social media.

Lea Baroudi (Lebanon) is a peace mediator using art, culture and social enterprise to provide Lebanese youth with the rare opportunity to build a future outside of violent extremism and sectarianism.

Politize! Civic Education Institute (Brazil) is 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.

Red de Intérpretes y Promotores Interculturales Asociación Civil (Mexico) is an Indigenous youth collective in Oaxaca, Mexico tackling exclusion by providing otherwise unavailable Indigenous language interpretation to those involved in legal proceedings.

REFORM: The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development (Palestine) is a non-governmental organization building solidarity between groups in Palestine by empowering them to get involved in social life and influence decision-making.

Touché (Belgium) is a social enterprise providing support to current and former prisoners and at-risk youth and, in the process, advancing a positive view of anger and aggression.


Calina Ellwand,
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Global Centre for Pluralism


The Global Pluralism Award recognizes pluralism in action. Presented every other year to individuals, organisations, governments and businesses from around the world, the Award celebrates the inspiring and brave work that is helping to build more inclusive societies where diversity is valued and protected.

The Award is conferred by the Global Centre for Pluralism, an independent, charitable organization founded by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada, and is made possible in part by the generous support of TD Bank Group. For more information about the Award, visit https://award.pluralism.ca/.

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