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Founding Chair

Amalia Kostanyan

TIAC's Founding Chair

Amalia Kostanyan  

Amalia Kostanyan was born in Yerevan on March 10, 1960. Originally a scientist and a Yerevan State University (YSU) alumna with a Diploma in Biophysics (1981), she held a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, YSU (1990) and worked in the Institute of Molecular Biology at the National Academy of Sciences (1984 -1996). In 1996, she graduated from the American University of Armenia (AUA), where she was a valedictorian, and received an MA from the School of Political Science and International Relations (1996). She was involved with a number of international organizations and in projects such as ICMA/USAID, ISSHD/UNDP, TACIS, as well as research at the AUA. Having received US Information Agency Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship Award (1998), she studied at Duke University, Terry Sanford School of Public Policy, Durham, NC, US, where she earned an MA in International Development Policy (2000).

Together with her like-minded friends, western university alumni who were eager to promote political, economic and social reforms in Armenia, Amalia Kostanyan founded the Center for Regional Development NGO in July 2000. Due to its active endeavors towards good governance and fighting corruption the organization became an accredited National Chapter of Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption movement in October 2001. The NGO was reregistered and renamed as Transparency International Anti-corruption Center (TIAC) in February 2008. TIAC has been a member of UNCAC coalition since 2008.

In her capacity as Chair, Amalia Kostanyan had run TIAC for a decade until her sudden death in September 2010, while engaged in the work that characterized her selfless and fearless contribution to the fight against corruption.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Muskie Program, Amalia Kostanyan was honored by the US State Department as the most outstanding Muskie Program Alumna from Armenia for her contributions to the "Development of NGOs in the Caucasus Sub-region" (2002).

Amalia Kostanyan was also Board Chair of the Open Society Foundations-Armenia (OSFA) since 2008, having already served two years as a member of the Board. The OSFA staff considered her a remarkable leader and supporter, a brave and outspoken human rights activist, whose high spirit, intelligence, humor and energy long inspired and guided them during the most difficult times. She was also a Board member of Helsinki Committee of Armenia (HCA) since 2008.

Amalia Kostanyan contributed to various reports on Armenia. She was the author or co-author of 17 publications of TIAC, including "National Integrity Systems Transparency International Country Study Report", "Anti-Corruption Policy in Armenia", "2006 Corruption Perception in Armenia".

The 2010 Annual Membership Meeting of Transparency International, held from 7-9 November in Bangkok, Thailand, resolved: "To establish an Amalia Kostanyan award recognizing excellence within the TI anti-corruption movement". The Amalia Kostanyan Award will keep her memory alive and will honor other heroes, people of integrity and courage, within the TI movement. The selection process would be similar to the one applied for selection of the TI Integrity Award winners.

TIAC and Open Society Foundations-Armenia have established an annual award in the name of Amalia Kostanyan to be conferred to a person for his/her significant contribution in strengthening civil society in Armenia.

Another award was established by OSFA to honor Amalia Kostanyan by organizing series of annual workshops/ conferences.

She was posthumously conferred the US Embassy’s "Woman of Courage" award saluting women who have taken courageous stands for the good of their society and was honored for fighting corruption and promoting transparent government.