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The project, "Encouraging Diversity through Cultural Collaboration," is an international partnership between Samara Regional LGBT Movement Avers (Самарское Регинальное Общественное ЛГБТ Движение Аверс) and PrideCenter of St. Louis. The Project is a first-of-its-kind endeavor; a collaboration on this scale between an American LGBTQ+ center and a Russian LGBTQ+ center has not occurred before.
The project consists of several components, developed collaboratively by the St. Louis and Samara-based teams. The project includes:
- Exchange trip for Russian participants to the U.S. during the first two weeks in February 2018;
- Exchange trip for American participants to Russia during the last two weeks in May 2018;
- Development of a video series documenting the progress of the grant
- Creation of an implementation manual providing resources for future international collaborations between organizations;
- Blog postings.
Goals of the project include:
- Highlighting important differences between LGBTQIA+ experiences in the U.S. and Russia;
- Providing a platform for discussion on international LGBTQIA+ issues;
- Raising awareness of cultural differences between the U.S. and Russia;
- Building a foundation for continued interaction between the LGBTQIA+ communities of not only St. Louis and Samara, but the United States and Russia as a whole;
- Documenting first-hand the cultural immersion experience.
PrideCenter was founded in the spring of 2017 by a committee of Pride St. Louis. Their goal was to provide an LGBTQIA+ community center through creation of a safer place for people in the community. PrideCenter hopes to expand their role as a community-based leader. PrideCenter offers a meeting space, a computer lab, and a library with the largest collection of LGBTQIA+ focused books in the region. Help is still needed to continually provide PrideCenter's services. Any donations, whether items or a monetary contribution, are tax-deductible.
The Samara Regional LGBT Movement Avers, or simply Avers, has several important goals:
- Provide and disseminate reliable scientific information on LGBT people;
- Monitor the discrimination of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Samara region;
- Implement social and legal services and programs aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of people;
- Develop civil institutions that help overcome discrimination, defamation and violations of the rights of citizens on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
- Promote the social activism of LGBT people;
- Promote humanistic enlightenment of society;
- Promote the observance of human rights in the field of gender relations, and to achieve gender equality in society.