Russian LGBT activist and council member of the Equality. Dignity. Pride Human Rights Organization Valentina Likhoshva from Murmansk got the international Thorvald Stoltenberg Award. The winners were announced at the annual Kirkenes Conference, which has been held online this year, on February 17.
The Thorvald Stoltenberg Award is given for outstanding achievements in the field of dialogue in the Arctic Region. It is considered to be the main international award in the Barents Region. The award was established in 2018, after Norwegian Foreign Foreign-Affairs Chief Thorvald Stoltenberg, who had initiated the creation of the Barents Region and established a trusting dialogue with Russia in the North, died.
"This is an important award, unexpected, but important, because when Foreign-Affairs Chief Sergei Lavrov is having the floor, and then you are given the award, this is a message for everyone about our visibility and actions," Valentina Likhoshva told the correspondent of 7x7. "I have been awarded for the work that is being carried out in the Barents Region. But I do not think this award belongs only to me. This is an award for everyone who has been by my side and by whose side I have been myself. Because I am involved in many projects and many human rights advocates have done the impossible, I think: we have helped indigenous peoples, sex workers, dealt with HIV prevention issues and, of course, LGBT issues, because I am an LGBT activist."
Valentina Likhoshva is a Russian LGBT activist, creator and participant of international projects on the protection of human rights and vulnerable groups, Candidate of Psychological Sciences. Likhoshva is also a council member of the Equality. Dignity. Pride Human Rights Organization (EDP), which includes journalists, lawyers, and psychologists - both representatives of the LGBT community and those who consider it important to protect the interests of groups that are often marginalized in Russia (about 15 people in total). In 2017, Likhoshva organized the Russian-Norwegian Barents Pride LGBT Festival. In October 2019, it was held in Kirkenes (Norway), and in 2020 — in the Agriculture_club Art Space in Petrozavodsk.