Equality and Diversity Prizes Awarded to Leonidas Donskis, Baltic Pride Organizers, Crisis Center Director

Vilnius, March 30, BNS–The fourth National Equality and Diversity Awards recognized the contributions of Lithuanian philosopher Leonidas Donskis who died last year.

The gender equality award was presented to Vilnius Crisis Center director Nijolė Dirsienė for her many years of caring for women suffering domestic violence and active work over 20 years in preventing violence. In the break-through category the Baltic Pride gay march organizers got the award, according to event spokespeople.

The ceremony held at the Royal Palace in Vilnius Wednesday handed out ten awards for achievements and initiatives over the last year.

The award for dialogue between peoples went to Vilnius Ukrainian Association chairwoman Natalija Šertvytienė for active work in expanding ethnic dialogue in Lithuania, preserving the Ukrainian ethnic identity and aid in integrating Ukraine in Europe.

The rainbow award went to the creators of the “išgir˜stì” internet platform and their organization In corpore for creating a safe space for LGBT people and their circle of friends to share information and have a voice.

The award in the category of “The Best Age Is My Age” went to Marijampolė, Lithuania, soccer trainer Martynas Karpavičius for holding the first-ever grandmothers’ soccer championship in Lithuania, demonstrating the joy of movement is something everyone can experience regardless of age.

The award for overcoming handicaps was presented to Albertas Aužbikavičius, a volunteer at the Lithuanian Library of the Blind, who read for 53 audiobooks, opening up the world of books to those with vision disabilities.

The Lithuanian National Radio cultural program Anapus čia ir dabar [The Other Side Here and Now} received the religious diversity award and the voice of the media award was presented to www.15min.lt journalist Kristina Aksamitaitė.

Besides the usual awards this year there a special award set up by the Norwegian embassy to Lithuania called “For Strengthening Civic Society.” This went to the Mental Health 2030 coalition for their efforts to establish openness, transparency and principles of human rights in the mental health system.

The Equal Rights Ombudsman Service and the National Equality and Diversity Forum hold the National Equality and Diversity Awards annually. This year the Norwegian embassy was also an organizer.