The 13th International Hrant Dink Award was presented on Wednesday, September 15th, 2021 at an online ceremony streamed on the Hrant Dink Foundation accounts. This year’s awards were granted to investigative journalist Maria Ressa who defends press freedom in the Philippines under difficult political conditions and high personal risks and women’s rights activist and lawyer Canan Arın who persistently continues defending gender equality and her struggle against gender based violence in Turkey.

The award ceremony was narrated by Defne Kayalar in Turkish and by Esra Dermancıoğlu in English languages. We thank Mahir Günşıray and Eric Nazarian for taking part at the ceremony with their great voice overs. The ceremony was held at the 23.5 Hrant Dink Site of Memory. Hrant Dink’s wife and President of the Hrant Dink Foundation Rakel Dink welcomed the guests on behalf of the Foundation and stated that "At the Hrant Dink Foundation, we stand for solidarity, goodness, equality, justice, including the right to life for the environment, nature, and human beings." Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International gave the opening speech which reflected on the struggle for human rights over the past year. Callamard ended her speech with the following words "We consider this our foremost duty: to speak up together when many may be prevented from doing so, to speak truth to power, no matter the size of power."

Alongside the acceptance speeches of the laureates, unique musical performances were also present at the ceremony. Ezhel’s new song Mayrig [Mother], has met with the audience for the first time, Pervin Chakar, Ertan Tekin and Ayta Sözeri gave unique performances with original melodies. With Songül Öden's narration Iraz Akçam, Ayça Bildik, Banu Fotocan, Gülçin Kültür Şahin, Zeynep Şengöz, Nesrin Uçarlar brought to life a song by Nazan Öncel giving voice to the injustices women face. The ceremony’s music supervisor Arto Tunçboyacıyan brought together musicians of all ages from Armenia; Vahagn Hayrapetyan, Gohar Hovhannisyan, Kamarama, Tmbata, Tsakhruk Ethno Music Group of Specialized Children’s Home of Kharberd, Yerevan Saxophone Quartet and Wood Winds Project enriched the ceremony with their folkloric tunes and rich melodies.

“Amid all the atrocities, amid this horrible picture, women’s resistance and solidarity remains our only source of hope and courage." said Canan Arın, women’s rights activist and lawyer in her acceptance speech.  

Laureate Maria Ressa with her message from the Phillipines stated that: "To journalists & activists who continue to fight, "We have to stay the course. Sometimes, people say you're naïve or foolish. People say that about us. We're not."  

Moreover, during the ceremony, people and institutions from Turkey and all around the world, who shed light to humanity with their struggles are acknowledged as the 'Inspirations' of 2021. Among the Inspirations of this year, there are human, environmental, refugee and women’s rights defenders from Turkey to Russia, Myanmar to the United States, Belarus to Kenya, as well as inspirational individuals and initiatives with their demands for peace, equal citizenship, democracy and justice.

This year's jury is composed of 2020 laureate human rights activist Osman Kavala, women's rights activist Mozn Hassan, director Emin Alper, writer Tanıl Bora, director Robert Guediguian, lawyer Viviana Krsticevic, child rights activist Molly Melching, writer and diplomat Şafak Pavey, political scientist Füsun Üstel and President of the Hrant Dink Foundation Rakel Dink.

The International Hrant Dink Award was previously presented to human rights activist Osman Kavala and women’s rights activist Mozn Hassan in 2020, Nebahat Akkoç, the founder of KAMER, who has been working to raise awareness about women's human rights for many years, and Agnes Kharshiing, who has been fighting for the rights and environmental rights of the poor, women, children and disadvantaged people in the region where she lives in India in 2019, human rights defender Murat Çelikkan and human rights organizations Mwatana were awarded in 2018; lawyer Eren Keskin who is bringing human rights violations to the agenda of both Turkey and international community by taking all the risks for years, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who draws attention to the inequalities and human rights violations all over the world in 2017; Theresa Kachindamoto, chief of the tribe working on children's human rights and education rights in Malawi, and to the Diyarbakır Bar Association fighting for human rights and the rule of law in 2016; women's rights advocate Samar Badawi from Saudi Arabia, and KAOS GL fighting for LGBT rights and equality in Turkey 2015; Şebnem Korur Fincancı, forensic expert and human rights advocate, and activist Angie Zelter 2014; to human rights advocate Nataša Kandić and Turkey’s longest continuing act of civil disobedience who are searching for their lost loved ones Saturday Mothers / People 2013; writer İsmail Beşikçi and human rights organization International 'Memorial' Community in 2012, journalist, writer Ahmet Altan and journalist, human rights defender Lydia Cacho in 2011; Turkey Conscientious Objection Movement and jurist Baltasar Garzón in 2010; journalist-writer Alper Görmüş, and journalist-writer Amira Hass in 2009.

The award ceremony was streamed on the social media accounts of the Hrant Dink Foundation. All the details about the night have been shared simultaneously with the ceremony on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of both the foundation and the award with hashtags #HrantDinkÖdülü, #UmuduÇoğalt, #DayanışmaGüçlendirir; #HrantDinkAward, #BuildHope, #StrongerTogether; #ՀրանդՏինքՄրցանակ, #բազմապատկէյոյսը, #զօրակցութիւնըուժէ.

Please click here to see 2021 International Hrant Dink Award booklet.