‘India Love Project’ Champions Love Beyond Boundaries

While many are having a global impact, the 2023 finalists are based out of Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, South Africa and the US…reports Asian Lite News

The Global Centre for Pluralism has announced 10 finalists for the 2023 Global Pluralism Award.

Selected from among 200 submissions from 60 countries, ‘India Love Project’ has been shortlisted for countering prejudice by sharing positive stories of love and marriage that defy the traditional boundaries of faith, caste, ethnicity and gender.

“The creativity, courage, and commitment shown by this year’s finalists is so important at this moment,” said Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism. 

“At a time of increasing polarisation globally, it is critical to magnify the impacts of pluralism leaders who are creating more inclusive and peaceful societies where diversity is valued. I hope these examples spur us all to follow their example and take action.”

Nominees for the award are selected by an independent, international jury of experts. This year’s finalists — chosen from among 200 submissions from 60 countries — are working to strengthen pluralism in their societies across a wide range of disciplines, from peacebuilding to translation, social enterprise, sports therapy, storytelling, technology, and beyond. 

While many are having a global impact, the 2023 finalists are based out of Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, South Africa and the US.

The jury chairman Marwan Muasher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, said, “The award finalists have made outstanding contributions to fostering pluralism in some of the world’s most challenging contexts. They are strengthening their communities by helping to build a foundation of mutual respect, cooperation, and shared purpose.”

From among these 10 finalists, three winners and seven honourable mention recipients will be announced in October and recognised at a ceremony to be held in November in Ottawa, Canada. 

Each winner will receive a prize of $50,000 (CAD) to further their work in support of pluralism.

With an aim to harness the power of social media to promote acceptance and dialogue, ‘India Love Project’, was launched in 2020 by senior journalists Niloufer Venkatraman, Samar Halarnkar, and Priya Ramani. 

Its Instagram account shares real-life love stories that defy hateful narratives about non-traditional unions. Online, it is creating a safe space for interfaith, inter-caste, inter-ethnic, and LGBT+ couples to celebrate their love and find community. Offline, the organisation has begun connecting couples with pro-bono lawyers and counsellors to support their unions when faced with legal challenges. One story at a time, ‘India Love Project’ is affirming that all loving relationships deserve to be celebrated.

“Being shortlisted for this award is heartening. We look forward to telling more unconventional love stories to even larger audiences. I hope our small effort can normalise unions that break the mould of homogeneity,” said Niloufer Venkatraman.

Priya Ramani added, “I hope being on this shortlist for our venture born out of love will make more people aware of the basic right that every Indian should have: the right to choose a partner irrespective of caste, religion and gender.

Remembering that when they launched the ‘India Love Project’, their aim was to create a community of people who felt safe and encouraged by each other’s stories, Samar Halarnkar said, “We hoped to also create a support structure for those who dared to love beyond the boundaries set for them by society. For our efforts to be recognised, as you have, will spur us to rededicate ourselves to our task.”

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