FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bangkok, 29 November 2021
Heroes from the community and allies of LGBTQI human rights and HIV were among 11 people and organisations who received an award the 2021 Asia Pacific HERO Awards in Bangkok last night taking place online for the first time under the theme HERO AWARDS 2021: One Night Live for All.
Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the HERO Awards acknowledges outstanding service to the HIV response in Asia and the Pacific, and to the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) communities. The online event took place through Zoom and APCOM Facebook Live, due to the pandemic instead of the usual gala event of the previous years. The event also raises funds for the Bangkok-based APCOM Foundation, a non-profit organisation which works to fight HIV and advance LGBTQI health and rights and to support organisations affected by Covid-19, across the Asia Pacific region. The Awards were supported by a range of corporate sponsors, community organisations and diplomatic missions.
“For me particularly as I am an advocate for young people, the HERO Awards help to inspire and recognize leaders within our region and cultivating the sense of shared goals where everyone’s voices matters and that young people should be empowered to be an integral part of the solutions for our region progress toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that does not leave the LGBTQI and PLHIV and affected by HIV behind,”commented Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific.
There were all together 21 honourees this year, and the award recipients from 11 award categories came from Australia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
Among the award recipients was Dennis Altman, former professor of Politics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia who receives the Shivananda Khan Award for Extraordinary Achievement, named after APCOM’s founder.
Joint award recipients for the Social Justice award are two young doctors who are also partners, Dr. Pyae Phyo Kyaw and Dr. Aung Soe Tun both currently at IDP Camp in Karenni State taking care of internally displaced civilians due to the Civil war, to raised funds, and provide staples and medicines in the camp since June this year.
This year’s Young Achiever award recipient goes to Indonesia’ Ikka Noviyanti, a young woman living with HIV working at the regional organization, Youth LEAD based in Bangkok, who is very proud that she can help youth-led organizations grow, and can help raise young key population voices at the national, regional, and also global levels.
An indigenous genderqueer Fijian human rights activist and defender that uses the pronouns Xe/Hir, Isikeli Vulavou receives the Community Ally award for whose work has been of significant benefit to LGBTQI people and/or people affected by HIV in Fiji and in the Pacific region. Ze is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN), a regional network of LGBTQI networks and organisations from around the Pacific. Isikeli is also the Founder for the Rainbow Pride Foundation which is an LGBTQI-led organisation in Fiji.
“On behalf of APCOM, I congratulate all the honourees and award recipients on their achievements and dedication to community service. The online event was a truly inspirational and thoroughly entertaining evening and a great celebration of the dynamic spirit of our community in spite of Covid-19 pandemic. I’d like to thank all the people who submitted nominations, our community and event partners, our sponsors and all our guests and for tuning in and supporting APCOM’s work by raising money to fund programs and services that are helping improve the health, rights and wellbeing of our community, and to respond to Covid-19 emergencies in the Asia Pacific region.”APCOM’s Regional Advisory Chair Dédé Oetomo commented
“…equity, Dignity and social justice for LGBTQI are central components of open society and democratic values. Indeed, open and democratic society cannot be achieved if discriminatory structures and practices are not challenged and dismantled. As such, we are proud to be a partner of APCOM and to support the HERO Awards…,”said John Liu, Acting Southeast Asia Director, Open Society Foundations
“As the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 remind us, nothing happens on our own. We need to work and collaborate with others, and we need to support the efforts of community driven efforts to help address community-based issues. The private sector, the public sector, our job is to support the work of community organisations within the LGBTQI+ community to help us realise our best lives ever.”Michael Bäk, Head of Public Policy, Facebook (Thailand) mentioned
APCOM is again delighted to host this year’s HERO Awards and help shine a light on the extraordinary work that everyday heroes from right across the Asia Pacific region are doing in their local communities to help improve the lives of others, particularly in the lead up to World AIDS Day and Human Rights Day.
Special thank you to our community partners, APN+, APTN and ILGA Asia for the great collaborations.
Thank you to our sponsors for investing in the value that this platform brings, and bring us all closer in times of needs and support as the HERO Awards provides a valuable opportunity to highlight how we can work together to make a difference despite challenging circumstances and hopefully the work of the remarkable people and organisations showcased as part of this year’s HERO Awards will inspire others to help out.