The International Hrant Dink Award 2011 was presented to the laureates Ahmet Altan from Turkey and Lydia Cacho from Mexico, on September 15, 2011 with a ceremony at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Tulin Ozen, began with the speeches of the Chair of the award committee Ali Bayramoglu and the President of the Hrant Dink Foundation, Rakel Dink. Ali Bayramoglu stated that on Hrant Dink’s 57th birthday, his name and his awards meet once again with people who work for a world free of discrimination, racism, and violence, take personal risks for their ideals. Bayramoglu emphasized the effort of the Foundation to institutionalize the Award and that the Laureates are determined by an international jury voting of 2 rounds, after an open nomination process. Rakel Dink, after saluting the audience in Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian, drew attention to the rising battle cries, with her words “The good will always prevail over evil, light over dark, and truth over lies” and wished that the Award will contribute to peace.   After the opening speeches, the “Van Project” music group performed several Armenian songs with their chief Norayr Kardashyan. Founded in November 2010 by the non-governmental organization Yergir for the purpose of preserving, studying, and disseminating traditional Armenian musical instruments and musical heritage, the Van Project consists of thirteen musicians attending various schools of music in Armenia. In the first part of the ceremony, Rojin accompanied the “Van Project” with Armenian and Kurdish songs and in the second part, Yavuz Bingol accompanied the group with ‘Sari Gelin’ both in Armenian and Turkish and with his ‘Peace Song’.

You can reach 2011 Award Booklet by clicking here.

Before proceeding to the awards, a video entitled “Inspirations” saluting people and organizations from Turkey and all around the world who give hope to the world with their small steps was show. Among the ‘Inspirations’, besides people from Africa, America and Europe, there were the Justice Commission of Confront the Truhth of Diyarbakır Prison, the “Soil and Water” (“Ax û Av” in Kurdish) Collective, the Migration Solidarity Network, Selim Temo Ergül, Şehbal Şenyurt Arınlı, the “Human Library” Project, Armenia – Turkey Cinema Platform and 40 Köyceğiz woman who call themselves “Şalvar Rap Group” after the baggy trousers they wear and who fought against the construction of HE-power plant on their river Yuvarlakçay.

At the end of the night, the awardees were announced with the films prepared by Umit Kivanc. The award statue was presented to the International Hrant Dink Award 2011 laureate from Turkey, Ahmet Altan by the jury members Adalet Agaoglu and Hasan Cemal. By bringing up the issues which can be named as “military question”, Altan is fighting to break, question and criticize the military authority, to establish democracy in the country. He continues to fight in line with his ideals, sets the agenda of the country. He is working in the direction of democratization, taking risks and transforming and for these reasons he was qualified for the award.> 

In his speech Altan said that we do understand Hrant Dink’s importance better and better in a country where we still have massacres, murders, clashes, where we still hear the voices promoting violence and glorifying death. He ended his speech by saying: “If you allow me, I would like to take this award only as an entrustment. Should one day in this country, a brave, honest and a dignified politician comes out to light who unveils the real perpetrators of Hrant Dink, who calls this brutal murder to an account, then I will be handing this entrustment over to him/her with great joy, right here, in front of this crowd”.

The other laureate of the International Hrant Dink Award 2011 is Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho who is specialized in defending and writing about women’s rights and who works on people trafficking, organized crime, drug trafficking, gender violence and official corruption. The award is presented to the experienced journalist for her faith in freedom, humanity and equality, her struggle for this end and for her courage. The award statue was presented to Lydia Cacho the Chair of the Erivan Press Club Boris Navasaridan and Erkan Ersoz, one of the members of the Conscientious Objection Movement in Turkey which was the 2010 International Hrant Dink Award winner.

In her speech, Lydia Cacho talked about the struggle she gave against human traffickers for many years in various countries and she said: “I know my rights. I’ve survived rape, incarceration, two trials and an assassination attempt for the simple fact of exercising my freedom to be an echoer of other women’s voices. And here I am making a free choice that millions of our sisters cannot make; until we are able to walk the path together, I will keep writing. And I will do it under the warm inspiration of our deceased colleagues from around the world, those who were assassinated for their honesty and their bravery, just like Hrant Dink, whose life and death touched us all in Latin America”.

The awardees are determined by the votes of the jury members Adalet Agaoglu, Judith Butler, Hasan Cemal, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Rakel Dink, Irene Khan, Boris Navasartian, Baltazar Garzon Real (International Hrant Dink Award 2011) and Concienscious Objection Movement in Turkey (International Hrant Dink Award 2011).

The award ceremony was broadcasted live on and All the details of the ceremony were followed in 3 languages (Turkish, English and Armenian) on Facebook and Twitter on the accounts of Hrant Dink Foundation and the award.