A Celebration of Courage: Report from 2007 event in New York City

On May 1, 2007, IGLHRC held its 2007 A Celebration of Courage in New York City. The recipient of this year’s award was the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) of Nepal, one of the world’s most respected advocacy organizations fighting for the human rights of sexual minorities. During the ceremony, held at the Manhattan Penthouse, Sunil Babu Pant, Founder and President of BDS, accepted the prestigious international award on behalf of his organization.

Close to two hundreds guests, including representatives from the corporate and business community, activists from numerous human rights and LGBT organizations, and IGLHRC supporters attended the event. The ceremony included messages from the master of ceremonies, Tony-nominated actress and writer, Lisa Kron and Event Co-Chairs Todd Larson and Runa Saeki who took this opportunity to thank the many sponsors and supporters who made this evening possible.

Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s Executive Director, praised the work of BDS for its many accomplishments in defending the rights of Nepal’s LGBT citizens, including its work to ensure that the rights of LGBT citizens are protected under the nation’s new constitution: “The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is so very proud to honor and support the incredible leadership of the Blue Diamond Society and Sunil Pant.”

Suvir Saran, this year honorary chair, praised the outstanding work of BDS and IGLHRC and urged the audience to continue supporting the important work of both agencies through their financial contributions.

In his acceptance speech, Sunil acknowledged the support IGLHRC provided to BDS since its inception back in 2001: “IGLHRC’s early support helped BDS survive when very few international voices were with us! IGLHRC’s support has made a significant difference in our work.”

Sunil described the Felipa award as a “morale-boost” for his country’s activists and “an inspiration to continue to be courageous and to persist in our liberation,” adding that the award “underscores the rights, the courage and the humanity of those who seek freedom and dignity and rise from the dark to the light of life.”