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Global Summit Kicks Off with World Bank Visit and Roundtable with Members of Congress

Thirty remarkable LGBTQ advocates from five continents gathered at HRC’s office in Washington, D.C. this week for the second annual Global Innovative Advocacy Summit.

Hailing from 28 countries, the global innovators represent tremendous diversity in age, gender, sexual and gender identity status, ability and activism. Yet despite their differences and varied experiences, they all have a burning passion to change LGBTQ lives in their home countries – and the world – for the better.

HRC’s annual Global Summit provides a forum to exchange ideas for advancing LGBTQ equality and network with key policymakers and non-profit leaders. Over the next three days, the global innovators will showcase projects and approaches that have advanced equality, particularly around storytelling, innovating and advocating.

On their first day, the global innovators attended a welcome lunch at HRC’s headquarters and then visited the World Bank. At the Bank, they met with Social Development Director Maninder Gill and the recently appointed World Bank Global Adviser on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Clif Cortez and discussed how the Bank can strengthen its work with LGBTQ communities.

Cortez emphasized the importance of more research, noting that “data is critical to obtain evidence that advance policies that benefit LGBTQ populations.” He called on the LGBTQ advocates to continue lobbying their governments to make advances on LGBTQ rights as the World Bank only takes on government-specific projects.

Global innovators pushed Gill and Cortez to take additional measures to advance LGBTQ equality through the Bank’s massive lending on education, public health and infrastructure in developing countries.

Global innovators also participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Representatives Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). Rep. Kennedy mentioned his leadership of Congress’s Transgender Equality Task Force, which seeks to protect transgender people in the U.S. and around the globe. Congressman Lowenthal noted his efforts in advancing global equality, including helping to establish and support the State Department’s first Special Envoy for the Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry.

As the Trump Administration has not committed to keeping this special envoy position, Lowenthal promised to fight to preserve Berry’s position and State Department funding in the face of impending budget cuts.

In the evening, HRC and the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Kare R. Aas formally welcomed the global innovators to Washington with a reception of friends, funders and partners in global equality work. Amb. Aas expressed pride at seeing the diverse collection of advocates working on LGBTQ equality, which he described as a fundamental value for Norway.

Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC Senior Vice President for Programs Research and Training, thanked the Norwegian Embassy for their exceptional generosity in hosting the reception and also welcomed the global innovators and HRC’s D.C.-based partners to the reception.  

The Global Summit will continue throughout the week with various panels, meetings and presentations. Read our daily blogs here or follow conversations online at #HRCGlobalSummit.