From January 15th, the public is invited to submit candidates for the National Equality and Diversity Awards. Each year, this ceremony honors people, organizations, and initiatives deserving recognition for their work in the field of human rights in Lithuania.
The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson Agneta Skardžiuvienė believes that the awards ceremony, which has already become a tradition, helps highlight how diverse and resilient Lithuania really is.
“It’s important not just to assess, but to highlight activists’ work on a national scale. Their contribution to the spread of ideals of equality and diversity distinctly strengthen the fabric of our country’s society and reinforce our democratic foundations,” she says.
Over the five years that the National Equality and Diversity Awards have taken place, they have recognized well-known figures such as professor Leonidas Donskis, actress and TV host Beata Tiškevič and her “Women Speak” initiative, actor Dominykas Vaitiekūnas and the team behind the platform “Išgirsti”, 15min.lt journalist Kristina Aržuolaitienė, members of the bands Skamp and Biplan, and many other representatives of civil society.
Nominees will be recognized for their work over the year of 2017 in eight categories. A committee of experts will choose three candidates in each category, who will then be assessed by the public through online polls in combination with further deliberation by the committee.
This year, the Open Society Citizen award, established by the Open Lithuania Foundation, will be given for the first time. It is awarded for work that boldly fosters democratic values in one’s society and community.
The Gender Equality award is given for the promotion of non-stereotypical views of men and women in society.
The Ethno Dialogue award is given for promoting integration of ethnic communities and combating xenophobia, racism and ethnic stereotypes.
The Rainbow award is given for merit in the LGBT* rights sphere and for the promotion of tolerant and open values.
The “My Age is the Best Age” award is dedicated to initiatives encouraging every person, whether old or young, to realize their potential, deconstructing stereotypes and uniting people of different generations.
The Overcoming Obstacles award honors people who have overcome physical, social or other barriers to ensure the right to a dignified life and integration in society for people with disabilities.
The Religious Diversity award is given for efforts to establish principles of freedom of religion and belief, and for promoting recognition and respect for religious diversity in Lithuania.
The Breakthrough of the Year award is given to a movement, work or initiative that has received widespread buzz while contributing to the spread of ideals of equality and diversity in society.
Nominees can be submitted here until January 29th.
The esteemed awards ceremony will take place March 22nd at the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
The National Equality and Diversity Awards are organized by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania and the National Equality and Diversity Forum.