The Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity has announced the judges for the inaugural award and the advisory board.

The prize was recently launched with the objective of fostering a culture of inclusion in all spheres of Nigerian life. The winner receives 1,000,000 Naira, in addition to mentorship opportunities and extensive media visibility.

The judging panel, made up of notable Nigerians from various cultural and professional sectors, includes the award-winning actors Nse Ikpe-Etim and Beverly Naya; journalists Kiki Mordi and Harry Itie; CNN Africa Voices host Arit Okpo; educator Ndukwe Igbokwe; actor and producer Eku Edewor, designer and entrepreneur Adebayo Okelawa; and consultant psychiatrist Gbonjubola Abiri.

 

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In an essay reflecting on his decision to launch the prize and endow its one million Naira grant, Chude Jideonwo writes:

“I like the idea of being an extremist for love and acceptance. It calls to something deep within my spirit. Because it is not homophobia or transphobia alone that breaks my heart—it’s inequality and oppression with regard to gender, to race, to religion; any part of the arena of human existence where being a minority or being different puts one automatically at risk,” he also added that, “The Nigeria Prize for Difference and Diversity, is me literally putting my money where my mouth is by endowing the prize for its first year. The prize will find and support young people across Nigeria who are creating safe spaces for and giving voice to people who are different in
seven key areas: gender, sexuality, faith and spirituality, mental and emotional health, art, special needs, and human rights.”

The advisory board— reflecting the prize’s primary objective of celebrating difference and inclusiveness—includes pianist Cobhams Asuquo, media critic Noah Tsika, public health specialist Tony Muthee, sexual health & rights advocate Olumide Makanjuola, writer & artist Lisa Teasley, public health physician & writer Ike Anya, New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar, educator Lin Kobayashi, CEO of All On Wiebe Boer, and vocal mental health professional and advocate Dr Zainab Imam.

Go here to read the full profiles of the judges and members of the advisory board.

Nominations are ongoing. If you know someone who is standing up for inclusion and diversity in Nigeria, follow this link to nominate them.

Nominations close on August 17, 2020.