The Ceremony of the National Equality and Diversity Awards 2016 Took Place in Vilnius

The fourth annual National Equality and Diversity Awards took place in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania on March 29, 2017. Honoring the works and initiatives, the awards were given to the people and organizations who contributed to the promotion and advancement of human rights last year.

The National Equality and Diversity Awards 2016 were presented in 10 categories:

The Gender Equality Award was given to Nijolė Dirsienė, the director of Vilnius Crisis Center, for her long years of active care for women suffering from violence and more than 20 years of dedicated work in violence prevention.

The Nations Dialogue Award was given to Natalija Šertvytienė, the chairperson of the Ukrainian community in Vilnius, for active fostering of nations dialogue in Lithuania, safeguarding Ukrainian ethnic identity and aiding in integration processes of migrant Ukrainians.

The Rainbow Appreciation Award was given to the association In corpore, the authors of the informational and social website išgir̃stì, for providing LGBT* people and their families and friends a safe place to share their experiences and to be heard.

The The Best Age – My Age Award was given to the football coach Martynas Karpavičius from Marijampolė for organizing the first ever football championship Grandmas for Football and proving that the joy of movement can be experienced by anyone without regard to their age.

The Overcoming Obstacles Award was given to the volunteer Albertas from the Lithuanian Library for the Blind who voiced 53 audio books thus providing a way for visually impaired people to experience and enjoy the world of literature.

The Religious Diversity Award was awarded to the TV show Beyond here and now (liet. Anapus čia ir dabar) for encouraging critical thinking and discussions about the importance of religious diversity in modern Lithuania and around the world.

The Breakthrough of the Year Award was given to the organizers of Baltic Pride 2016 March for Equality for the most successful LGBT* community march in Lithuanian history, which was attended by more than 3000 people.

The Media Voice Award was given to Kristina Aksamitaitė, the journalist and editor for the website, for promoting equality and diversity by writing about gender equality, Roma integration, fight against the violence towards women and other human rights issues.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to late Leonidas Donskis for his human rights work. During the event, the award was accepted by his wife Jolanta Donskienė.

For the first time in the history of the Awards, one initiative was awarded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Strengthening Civil Society. The award was given to the coalition Mental Health 2030 for promoting openness, transparency and human rights in the mental health system.

The National Equality and Diversity Awards were presented for the fourth time. The Awards are organized annually by the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and the National Equality and Diversity Forum. This year the team of organizers was joined by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lithuania.

The awards were designed by the artist Viktoras Dailidėnas.

The event included performances from the accordionist Martynas Levickis, the piano player Linas Duržinskas, the Lithuanian Blind People Choir Feniksas and the children choir “ReMiDo”. The ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Marijus Žiedas.

The guests were greeted by Agneta Skardžiuvienė, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, Dovilė Juodkaitė, the representative of the National Equality and Diversty Forum and H. E. Dag Malmer Halvorsen, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Lihuania.

The awards were presented by Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, member of the European Parliament, Aušrinė Armonaitė and Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, members of Lithuanian Parliament, Vaidotas Žalas and Saulius Jurgelėnas, Lithuanian racers at the Dakar Rally, Gunta Ronė, the National Communities Council chairperson, H. E. Dag Malmer Halvorsen, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Lihuania, Ignas Rusilas, the leader of the project Misija Sibiras, journalists Andrius Tapinas and Indrė Makaraitytė, Justas Pankauskas, the Vice-minister of Justice, and Agneta Skardžiuvienė, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson.

The event was broadcasted live by Lithuanian TV channel LRT Kultūra.

The event was photographed by Augustas Didžgalvis.