IMPLEMENTING LOCAL ORGANIZATION – OFFICE OF THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OMBUDSPERSON
The National Equality and Diversity Awards is an annual event organised in conjunction with the Ombudsman for Equal Opportunities in Lithuania. Individuals, organisations and initiatives receive national awards for their outstanding achievements in promoting equality and diversity in Lithuania.
The Awards were launched in 2014 to recognise and commend individuals and organisations for their work in the field of diversity and inclusion by promoting the equality of people, irrespective of differences that may arise due to their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, views or other forms.
In total there are nine categories: Award for Gender Equality, Award for the Dialogue of Nations, Rainbow Appreciation Award, My Age is the Best Age Award, Overcoming an Obstacle Award, Religious Diversity Award, Breakthrough of the Year Award, Media Voice Award and Award for Life Achievements.
Since 2018, the British Council Lithuania has presented the Nations Dialogue Award for contributions to ethnic cooperation and the dismantling of xenophobia, as well as racial and ethnic stereotypes.
In 2018, the Polish Discussion Club was awarded the Nations Dialogue Award 2017 for promoting dialogues between Lithuanians and Poles. It is an independent organisation of Polish people in Lithuania which organises public discussions and fosters a dialogue between Poles and Lithuanians within the country. The club aims to be unaffiliated with any political parties and seeks mutual understanding, promoting tolerance and integration of Poles residing in Lithuania.
In 2019, the Nations Dialogue Award 2018 went to the creative documentary performance “Unknown Land. Šalčia”. On the stage of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, the director Jonas Tertelis, along with a team of actors, created a subtle and colourful picture of life in which Poles, Lithuanians, Belarusians, Russians and people of other nationalities reveal the true ethnic diversity of Lithuania. The play by this documentary theatre was based on the stories of residents in Šalčininkai, where the different challenges faced by the citizens in the region are intertwined, not because of national issues, but because of the challenges related to isolation, emigration, economic inequalities, and smuggling.
In 2020, the Nations Dialogue Award 2019 went to the Multicultural Youth Centre "Padėk pritapti" for the comic book Draw Me a Way. Illustrated Roma History, which tells the history of Roma people in Lithuania through promoting tolerance to different cultures and customs. This is the first comic book of its kind in Lithuania, created and published by the "Help to Fit In" Centre and an illustrator Akvilė Magicdust, involving children and young people from the Lithuania‘s Roma community and other ethnic groups.