Tumaini Founder makes finalist for 2021 Global Pluralism Award

Image: Tresor Nzengu Mpauni

Tumaini Festival founder Menes la Plume has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for the 2021 Global Pluralism Award.

The exciting news comes barely two days after Menes, real name Tresor Mpauni, and his crew held a successful three-day festival at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District, which attracted gigantic audiences.

A press statement from Global Centre for Pluralism says the Global Pluralism Award is an honour that celebrates excellence in the field of pluralism.

It says that the award is presented once every two years to individuals, organisations and governments around the world for exemplary achievements in building more inclusive societies where diversity is protected.

“The centre is inspired by the creativity and resilience of this year’s finalists, whose achievements offer tangible, inspiring examples of the power of pluralism in today’s world,” Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, said.

The Global Centre for Pluralism received 500 nominations spanning 70 countries for the 2021 Global Pluralism Award.

The nominees are said to undergo a rigorous review process and are selected by an independent, international jury of experts from disciplines related to pluralism.

“Pluralism is a description of the respect, co-operation and shared purpose which make communities work,” Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada, and Jury Chair, said.

“These finalists have made a remarkable contribution to pluralism. They show originality and courage in dealing with challenges of injustice, inequality and exclusion in today’s world,” he added.

The statement says in Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Israel, India, Kenya, Hong Kong, Canada, Malawi and globally— the 2021 finalists have made extraordinary strides to advance pluralism through education, community building, socio-economic development and the arts.

“Pluralism is what will bind us together and help us maintain our diversity and our communities,” Kim Ghattas, Emmy-Award winning journalist and juror of the 2021 Global Pluralism Award, said.

Ghattas said the Global Pluralism Award reminds us of the incredible work that so many people are doing to advance pluralism across the globe and the sheer courage of “these finalists is humbling and gives me a lot of hope”.

Three Pluralism Award winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony in February 2022. Each winner will receive a prize of CAD $50,000 to further their work in support of pluralism.

Menes, who is also a poet, said yesterday he was excited to be part of the 10 finalists.

“This is not only for me but for Tumaini and for Malawi. I am looking forward to the virtual ceremony,” he said yesterday.

Through Tumaini Festival, which in Swahili means hope, Menes has advocated for love among humanity and, through the festival, he has been promoting intercultural harmony and greater understanding of the refugee experience.

Having failed to hold Tumaini Festival last year due to Covid, Menes said the pandemic has taught us that “we need to value each other and make sure that we show love to each other”.

Menes has in the past also received the Social Inclusion Hero Award from World Bank Group in Washington DC, United States of America.

Apart from Menes, the other finalists include Rose LeMay (Canada), Puja Kapai (Hong Kong), Namati Kenya (Kenya) and Lenin Raghuvanshi (India).

This article was first published by Times Media Group

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