Deborah Ahenkorah, 2019 Global Pluralism Award Winner.

Global Centre for Pluralism Announces the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Winners

Deborah Ahenkorah (Ghana), the Center for Social Integrity (Myanmar) and ‘Learning History That Is Not Yet History’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) recognized as outstanding leaders promoting inclusion worldwide

Ottawa, Canada – October 15, 2019 – Today, the Global Centre for Pluralism announced the three winners of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award: Deborah Ahenkorah – a young Ghanaian social entrepreneur and book publisher bringing African children’s stories to life; the Center for Social Integrity - an organization giving youth from conflict-affected regions in Myanmar the skills and voice to be leaders for change amidst the many overlapping conflicts ongoing in the country; and ‘Learning History that is not yet History - a network of history educators and specialists in the Balkans pioneering a new approach to teaching the controversial history of conflict.

Meredith Preston McGhie, Secretary General of the Global Centre for Pluralism, said, “The Centre is honoured to be supporting the work of this year’s award winners. Their creative initiatives offer hope that negative trends toward exclusion and division can be reversed. The impact of their work is proof that we can build more richly diverse, peaceful and inclusive societies. These are examples we can all learn from.”

Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Award Jury, said, “The jury was inspired by the vital work of the award winners and the hundreds of impressive submissions received. They are all deeply committed to equipping the next generation of leaders with the knowledge and empathy to respond to the biggest challenges to pluralism today and in the future.”

The Global Pluralism Award celebrates pluralism in action. As a result of their sustained achievements to promote respect across differences, the Award winners are helping to build more inclusive societies, in which human diversity is valued and thrives.

Award winner, Deborah Ahenkorah said, "I feel incredibly blessed to receive this award and after a decade of work championing the importance of African literature for children, this honour highlights how much closer we are to the goal of placing African children's literature on a deserving global pedestal. I continue to look forward to that day when you can walk into a bookstore anywhere in the world and find incredible African stories available for all."

Deborah Ahenkorah, 2019 Global Pluralism Award Winner.
The Global Pluralism Award celebrates achievement and excellence in the field of pluralism.

Aung Kyaw Moe, Executive Director of the award winner, Center for Social Integrity, said, “This award recognizes that change can come from within, and that what started out as a small-scale local initiative, can become a strong and meaningful movement. It is a great achievement to be able to depict Rohingya people advocating for tolerance and pluralism hand-in-hand with other ethnic and religious peoples. I hope that one day, diversity in Myanmar will not only be accepted but celebrated.”

Bojana Dujkovic, representative of the award winner, the ‘Learning History that is not yet History’ team said, "It is very significant to our team to be receiving international recognition for work we have been developing with minimal support for over 16 years. Dealing with the sensitive history of the 1990s Yugoslav wars in our classrooms is very difficult for teachers. We have personal connections to this topic and many, including this team, have buried the topic for decades. It is now the moment to face the past responsibly and to teach about the 1990s conflicts, in order to build a future of mutual understanding, peace and reconciliation.”

This year, the Global Centre for Pluralism received over 500 applications spanning 74 countries for the 2019 Global Pluralism Awards—more than double the submissions to the inaugural awards in 2017. All nominees undergo a rigorous review and jury selection process.

The Global Centre for Pluralism, founded by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Government of Canada, will recognize the three winners and seven honourable mentions at an award ceremony on November 20, 2019 in Ottawa, Canada. The three winners will each be granted $CAN50,000 and in-kind support to advance their work in promoting pluralism.

Past winners include conflict mediator Alice Nderitu (Kenya), victims’ rights advocate

Leyner Palacios Asprilla (Colombia) and human rights lawyer Daniel Webb (Australia).


About the Global Centre for Pluralism

Founded in Ottawa by His Highness the Aga Khan in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Global Centre for Pluralism is an independent, charitable organization. Inspired by Canada’s experience as a diverse and inclusive country, the Centre was created to advance positive responses to the challenge of living peacefully and productively together in diverse societies.

For further information, please contact:

Calina Ellwand

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T: +1 613 688-0137

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Golden Baobab has announced the awards for the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize. This year marks 10 years since the prestigious pan-African children’s literary award was set up to celebrate and support talented African writers and illustrators. To date the Prize has inspired submissions of over 2,000 new and original African children’s stories and illustrations and offered substantial monetary awards as well as publishing opportunities.

Entering a decade since its establishment, this year’s Golden Baobab Prize presented a specific focus on publishing. This was reflected in the Prize’s jury which was a panel of prominent international publishing and literacy professionals. According to the Golden Baobab Prize administration, the mandate for this year’s jury was to find writers whose manuscripts were publishing ready and versatile illustrators whose styles showed evidence that they could create work for a wide audience of children. After a lengthy deliberation process, the jury announces that the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize will offer multiple awards but no winner. The jury concluded that the top entries of the literature prize were more ready for editorial support and mentorship than they were ready for publication. For the illustrator prize, while there were strong entries the jury did not find illustrations that met this year’s criteria.

2018 Golden Baobab Prize Shortlist

The 2018 Golden Baobab Prize jury has selected four stories for the shortlist and awarded them a prize package of editorial support, in addition to connections to publishing opportunities. It has selected for one illustrator for the shortlist commending them for their creative interpretation of the illustration briefs provided. The 2018 Shortlist are:

  • The Clock Can’t Jump Through Time by Adeola Adeyemo (Nigeria) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

  • Think Before You Act, Kuku! by Thandazile Sakhile Mpofu (Zimbabwe) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books 

  • Keeper of the Gates by David Kwakye (Ghana) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

  • The Era of the Afrocubs by Ayo Oyeku (Nigeria) for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books: 

  • Elizabeth Jeffery (South Africa) for the Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators

Speaking on this announcement, Golden Baobab’s Executive Director, Deborah Osei-Agyekum said: “We support the jury’s decision for the Golden Baobab Prize to announce no winner for 2018 but rather offer awards to multiple entrants. The cash award from this year's Prize will be rolled into future years with an increased focus on publishing. Over the past 10 years, the Golden Baobab Prize has successfully matched talented African writers and illustrators to publishing opportunities for children's books and we are committed to do more. Stories and illustrators from the Golden Baobab Prize have gone on to be published by African Bureau Stories, Penguin Random House South Africa, Oxford University Press, Quramo Publishing and Cassava Republic Press among others."



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This year, the Golden Baobab Prize received over 300 new and original stories and illustrations from 17 African countries. Our 2018 Jury, made up of prominent international publishing and literary professionals, went through a rigorous process to evaluate this year’s entries.

2018 Golden Baobab Prize Longlist

Our Longlist for the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize 

We are very happy to unveil our 2018 Longlist which features twelve African children’s authors and illustrators from six countries across the continent. They are:

The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

  • Adeola Adeyemo, Nigeria - The Clock Can’t Jump Through Time

  • Thandazile Sakhile Mpofu, Zimbabwe - Think Before You Act, Kuku!

  • Sharon Salu, Nigeria - Koko’s Head

  • Marie Pelagie Elimbi Moudio, Cameroon - The Water Festival

The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

  • Warũgũrũ Mũchĩra, Kenya - Akinyi

  • David Kwakye, Ghana - Keeper of the Gates

  • Ayo Oyeku, Nigeria - The Era of the Afrocubs

  • Lorna Likiza, Kenya - Oi Gets Lost

The Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators

The winners of the Golden Baobab Prize will be announced on December 15th, 2018.

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2018 Golden Baobab Prize Judges

We are delighted to announce our judges for the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize! This year’s jury comprises prominent international publishing and literacy professionals. They are:

  • Akoss Ofori-Mensah, Publisher, Sub-Saharan Publishers

  • Kathy Knowles, Children’s writer, publisher and founder, Osu Library Fund

  • Daphne Lee, ConsultingEditor, Scholastic Asia

  • Sarah Odedina, Editor-at-Large, Pushkin Press

  • Akua Peprah, Educator, The Lovett School

  • Carol Williams, West Africa Regional Director, Worldreader

Full details about the 2018 judges can be found here:

“We are excited to present a jury this year that boasts an international group of literary professionals who care about getting diverse books to children.” says Eunice Ahenkorah, Program Manager of Golden Baobab. “As the Golden Baobab Prize celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, we look forward to a new chapter where we will establish meaningful partnerships with various organizations to increase our capacity to have more African children’s books published by our authors and illustrators”

The Golden Baobab Prize was established to discover and present talented African writers and illustrators with opportunities to produce African children's books. We invite entries of unpublished stories and illustrations by African citizens irrespective of age, race, gender or country of origin, and offers cash prizes as well as publishing opportunities to outstanding entries.

Winners of the Prize have to gone on to see success in the publishing industry. Grandma’s List, a Golden Baobab Prize winning story by Ghanaian writer Portia Dery and published by African Bureau Stories, has won the 2018 Children’s Africana Book Award (CABA) organized by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association in the U.S. The CABA Award sponsors include the African Studies departments of Harvard, Howard and Yale universities among others. 

The winners of this year’s Golden Baobab Prize will be announced on December 15, 2018.

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Grandma's List, a story that was awarded the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, has just won the internationally coveted Children's Africana Book Award (CABA). The book was written by Ghanaian author Portia Dery, illustrated by South African artist Toby Newsome and published by African Bureau Stories, a publishing partner of the Golden Baobab Prize. Grandma's List won the 2018 CABA Young Children’s category along with books from international publishers Penguin Random House, Candlewick Press and Lantana Publishing among others. 

    Portia Dery, 2018 CABA Winner   

(Portia Dery, 2018 CABA Winner and her book, Grandma's List)

The Children's Africana Book Award is an annual award presented to authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S.A. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) and its sponsors include the African Studies departments of universities Harvard, Howard and Yale among others. Past winning writers of CABA include Desmond Tutu, Niki Daly and Nnedi Okorafor.

Image from Grandma’s List

(Image from 2018 CABA Winning book, Grandma’s List)

The Golden Baobab Prize guaranteed the publication of Grandma's List, as part of the prize package it offered to the winning writer. The success of this book is an end product of Golden Baobab's commitment to supporting the careers of African writers and illustrators and finding more opportunities for their great work to shine on regional and international platforms. This year, Golden Baobab is expanding its activities in publishing to provide more opportunities for talented African children's authors and illustrators to develop their careers. We are developing strategic African and global publishing partnerships to produce more stories from the Golden Baobab Prize.

CABA announces winners of 2018 Best Book for Young Children

(CABA announces winners of 2018 Best Book for Young Children)

Grandma’s List is a brilliant and colorful story about an 8-year old girl Fatima, who wants to save the day by helping her Grandmother complete her list of errands. The problem is, Fatima loses the list and she has to recall from memory what was written on it. The rest of story then takes the reader on a funny and heartwarming adventure with Fatima and her family.  

An inside look of the Award winning book, Grandma’s List 

(An inside look into the award winning book, Grandma's List)

An inside look of the Award winning book, Grandma’s List

Kudos to Portia Dery and Toby Newsome for coming together to create this lovely story that young readers all over the world adore!

To order a copy of Grandma’s List, visit:

To purchase Grandma’s List, as an eBook on Amazon, click here. 

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