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2023 Global Pluralism Award Winner: Esther Oman

The Award

The Global Pluralism Award recognizes pluralism in action. Presented every other year to individuals, organizations, 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.


Who is Esther?




Esther Omam is an award-winning peace-builder and human rights defender who has spent nearly three decades fostering a culture of peace in Cameroon. Her organization, Reach Out Cameroon, promotes women's and children's rights in conflict-affected areas and advances women’s participation in the peace-building process. It has served over 1,700,000 people in remote communities in the North West and South West regions since the Anglophone crisis started in late 2016.


To amplify women’s voices, strengthen their agency, and draw attention to the impacts of violence and trauma on their communities, Ms Omam established the Southwest/ Northwest Women’s Taskforce. She was one of the leading organizers of the first-ever National Women’s Convention for Peace in Cameroon, which drew over 1,200 women from across the country to demand an end to violence. From facilitating the participation of women in local and national dialogues to opening a Peace House christened “Esther’s Brave Space” that offers temporary accommodation and counseling to survivors of gender-based violence, Ms Omam champions pluralism by strengthening communities and uniting voices to call for peace and social cohesion in Cameroon. She will be recognized at a ceremony to be held in November in Ottawa, Canada where she will receive $50,000 (CAD) to further her work in support of pluralism.

Award Acceptance



Esther presenting her speech during the award ceremony in Ottawa Canada



In acceptance of this award, Esther Omam said, “This award is a reaffirmation of the value of the concept of ‘Leave no one behind’. That humanity, more than ever before, should always come first. That our diversity is our bond and that, with pluralism, everyone can have a voice. This award symbolizes all that I fight for as a woman, a peacebuilder, and a leader in Cameroon, a country where the acceptance of our diversity and plurality can be a solution to our plight.”

 

Dr. Marwan Muasher, Award Jury Chair and Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, “The Award winners’ work has enormous value in the world today. Pluralism is not embedded in every society or every country in the world. Those who work for pluralism, those who truly believe that diversity is a source of strength and not weakness, need to be acknowledged and celebrated.”

 

Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism said, “Against the current global landscape, recommitting to the values of pluralism is incredibly important. The 2023 Global Pluralism Award winners are demonstrating that with creativity and courage, advancing pluralism is truly possible. Their achievements offer so much hope for the future when it is needed most.” He said.


By Olga Elume.

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