Sri Lanka’s “SMART Advocates: For Effective Dialogue to Address the Grassroots Conflicts” Project Receives UNAOC-BMW Group Intercultural Innovation Award

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The "SMART Advocates" project of the Strengthening Youth Leadership Collective (SYLC) in Sri Lanka was selected as one of ten global grassroots initiatives to receive the prestigious Intercultural Innovation Award from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, during an Awards Ceremony held last night at the German Pavilion of the Dubai EXPO 2020, within the margins of the thematic week on Tolerance and Inclusivity. The selection process was highly competitive, with over 1,100 applications received from 120 countries.

SMART Advocates is designed to train individuals who have the passion to engage in effective advocacy to address grassroots conflicts and build a better Sri Lanka. By facilitating peacebuilding through a digital platform and visual storytelling, SMART Advocates aims to tackle socio–economic and environmental challenges. The core objective is to bridge the gap between communities and local authorities to address these conflicts.

“Strengthening Youth Leadership Collective has been exploring mechanics that build trust, create innovation, and ensure sustainability to make lasting change. Young people are often considered as perpetrators of violence. To change this stereotypical perspective, our novel approach to address grassroots conflicts through digital platforms gives new insights about young people," said Kishoth Navaretnarajah, Co–Founder and Program Designer at SYLC.

The Intercultural Innovation Award supports grassroots initiatives that promote intercultural dialogue and understanding, thereby contributing to peace, cultural diversity, and more inclusive societies. This year, the Awards Ceremony was chaired by the High Representative for UNAOC and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, H.E. Mr. Miguel ngel Moratinos, and Ms. Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources at BMW Group.

In addition to a financial grant, SYLC will receive capacity–building and mentorship support from UNAOC, the BMW Group and Accenture to help strengthen the "SMART Advocates" project and ensure its sustainable growth. This model of collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector creates a more profound impact, as partners provide their respective expertise to ensure the sustainable growth of each supported project.

Learn more about the project:–advocates–sylc/

Media inquiries:
– Ms. Milena Pighi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, BMW Group: Phone: +49–89–382–66563; Email:
– Mr. Alessandro Girola, Programming Coordinator, UNAOC: Phone: +1 (929) 274–6217; Email:

GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8394941)

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