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Amalia Kostanyan Award

Launched in 2011 on joint initiative of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center (TIAC) NGO and Open Society Foundations-Armenia (OSF-Armenia), Amalia Kostanyan annual Award honors an individual in recognition of his/her principled and courageous actions and contribution to the development of civil society.

Amalia Kostanyan was the founder of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO in 2000 and its Chair for a decade till her sudden death in 2010. 


2018 awards

Amalya Kostanyan annual award was presented for the 8th time on February 4, 2018. In view of the stormy events in 2018, the award was given not to individuals but went to two civic initiatives – “Restart” student-civic initiative and Amulsar defenders.

At the launch of the award ceremony Amalia's friends and colleagues made speeches, noting that they would continue with honor the work done by Amalia Kostanyan, who during her short, but vivid life, contributed to the formation of fairer society. “Amalia had special attitude toward youth. She has faith in the power of youth and believed that their activism and mobilization would change everything. I think that those who receive awards really comply with Amalia Kostanyan's ideas and image,” noted David Amiryan, Deputy Director for Programs of Open Society Foundations-Armenia.

The award was given to "Restart" student-civic initiative by Lara Aharonian, women human rights defender and director of the Women's Resource Centre. “Experience shows that when young people and students stand up, everything becomes possible and everything goes in the right direction. Starting with raising the issues of governance and quality of education in universities, “Restart” student-civic initiative began to restart the whole country. The movement evolved, joined the revolution, and we are now indebted to them for this reality,”- concluded Lara Aharonian, handing over the award to Davit Petrosyan and Shushan Harutyunyan from Restart initiative.

The award to Amulsar defenders was handed over by human rights defender, journalist and publicist Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, noting that Amalia Kostanyan award was given to a group that "assumed responsibility in the post-revolutionary period to voice about the most important human right, the right to live in a healthy environment through peaceful disobedience struggle. Giving this significant award to Amulsar's defenders, we stand in solidarity with those who say "Yes to Life, No to Mining".

The award went to Jermuk resident Aharon Arsenyan. He is one of the residents who has been fighting for their rights for eight months. Receiving the award, Aharon noted that through a petition 3,000 residents of Jermuk confirmed that the whole community was against mining. "We have decided that Amulsar will not become a mine and all the youth of the community will stand up to that demand. There is nothing for the youth to fight and not win," the award winner concluded.

2016 and 2017 awards

Amalya Kostanyan 2016 and 2017 awards were given in the opening part of “Corruption and Security Challenges” event organized by TIAC on international anticorruption day. David Amiryan, Deputy Director for Programs of Open Society Foundations-Armenia presented Amalia Kostanyan’s role and contribution in the establishment of civil society in Armenia, as well as the significance of the award. He noted that Amalia was a person who offered innovative and out-of-box solutions to the current problems and attached great importance to education and youth engagement.

The award was traditionally given by the previous year’s awardee Tehmine Yenokyan to 2016 award-winner Marianna Grigoryan, editor of MediaLab.am for the series of political cartoons. “I am very grateful for this assessment and honored since I personally knew Amalia Kostanyan. This award is very important for me. We and our team believe in what we do and believe that we can make a change,” noted Marianna Grigoryan in her thankyou speech.

2017 Amalya Kostanyan award went to Daniel Ioannisyan, Programs Coordinator at Union of Informed Citizens NGO for exposing misuse of administrative resources in 2017 parliamentary elections in Armenia. “Everyone knew of the misuse of administrative resources but no one could prove it. We did it! Despite the authorities’ refutations and references to lack of evidence we managed to gather facts substantiating misuse of administrative resources,” said Ioannisyan.

2015 award

Amalia Kostanyan award giving ceremony was held during an event “Engaged Citizens Against Corruption: TIAC and Partner Activities Fighting Against Corruption - 2016” organized by Transparency International Anticorruption Center (TIAC) on December 9, 2016, International Anti-corruption Day. Sona Ayvazyan, Executive Director of TIAC and Larisa Minasyan, Executive Director of Open Society Foundations- Armenia made speeches, presenting the significance of the award.

The winner of Amalia Kostanyan Award 2015 was Tehmine Yenokyan, journalist of “Lragir” news and analytical website, who in 2015 covering #ElectricYerevan civic movement, was distinguished by her high professional skills, courage and principle stand, which made possible to record in history one of the most striking examples of the Armenian citizens’ free expression and peaceful struggle.

The award was handed by 2014 awardee Lara Aharonyan, President of Women’s Resource Center NGO. Tehmine Yenokyan thanked for the award, hoping for the problems in the country to be reduced to such an extent, so that there won’t be any need to struggle against them. The award winner noted that she would like not only individuals and organizations to speak out and fight against corruption but the entire nation to join in the struggle for accountability, transparency and human rights to realize and not let any citizen’s right be violated. She also added that the award belongs not only to her but also to all those journalists who continue to struggle and do not allow for their and others’ rights to be violated.

2014 award

​Amalia Kostanyan 2014 award ceremony was held for the fourth time on October 8, 2015 during the event dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Transparency International Anticorruption Center (TIAC). David Amiryan, Deputy Director for Programs of Open Society Foundations –Armenia made a speech to present the intent of the award.

Amalia Kostanyan Award 2014 went to the President of Women’s Resource Center NGO for her consistent struggle for gender equality in Armenia. Varuzhan Hoktanyan, TIAC Executive Director, presented Lara Aharonyan’s activities, while publicist Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, the 2013 awardee handed the award to Ms. Aharonyan. In her speech Lara Aharonyan noted that the award belonged not only to her, but to all those women who fought for gender equality and against various manifestations of discrimination. The award would give them hope and strength to face forthcoming challenges.

In her video message congratulating TIAC’s 15th anniversary Elena A. Panfilova, Vice-Chair of Transparency International global movement, also congratulated the awardee.

Launched in 2011 on joint initiative of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center (TIAC) NGO and Open Society Foundations-Armenia (OSF-Armenia), Amalia Kostanyan annual Award honors an individual in recognition of his/her principled and courageous actions and contribution to the development of civil society.

Amalia Kostanyan was the founder of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO in 2000 and its Chair for a decade till her untimely decease in 2010. 

2013 award

Amalia Kostanyan award ceremony was held on December 16, 2013 during a discussion invited by Transparency International Anticorruption Center. David Amiryan, Deputy Director for Programs of the Open Society Foundations - Armenia made presentation on Amalya Kostanyan and the award. 2013 Award was granted to activist, journalist and publicist Zaruhi Hovhannisyan. It was handed to her by last year’s awardee, human rights activist Lala Aslikyan. While receiving the award, Zaruhi Hovhannisyan said that she would continue to be active in fighting for human rights where they be violated.

Zaruhi Hovhannisyan: “Every person who works for restoring violated human rights and injustice, against violence is worth sincere respect and admiration. I share with each of you the award that was given to me today. I am part of the whole and at the same time, I unite you all with my life and work. Culture of life is a creative work itself where a person is free, and freedom is beyond the realm of violence.”  

2012 award

Discussion on "Euro integration process of Armenia: from European Neighborhood Policy to Association Agreement" held on April 16, 2012 ended with Amalia Kostanyan Annual Award giving ceremony. The award was handed out for the second time to honor 2012 awardee Lala Aslikyan, an individual of principle and courage in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of civil society. 

The discussion, organized by Partnership for Open Society initiative with the support of Open Society Foundations-Armenia launched a series of annual events since 2011 dedicated to the memory of Amalia Kostanyan, the founder and Chair of TIAC and a vivid civil society representative. 

2011 award

​Transparency International Anti-corruption Center (TIAC) and Open Society Foundations - Armenia (OSF-Armenia) marked the International Anti-corruption Day, December 9, 2010 by a ceremony to present the first ever Amalia Kostanyan award. The award went to human rights advocate Artak Zeynalyan. To his mind, the award was weighty and keeping it incurred weighty responsibilities. "However I will take the burden and will keep it with due responsibility," said Zeynalyan in his remarks of gratitude.

The event brought together representatives of civil society, international organizations, diplomatic missions, state institution, her friends and colleagues to pay tribute to Amalia's living memory and to honor the award winner.

David Amiryan, Deputy Director of OSF-Armenia and Varuzhan Hoktanyan, TIAC Executive Director shared their fond memories about Amalia and her role in decision-making and meeting challenges. Her opinion and advice were vital for all who knew her.

Her thoughts were important even for those who did not have a pleasure and an opportunity of knowing her - Anne Koch, Transparency International's Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and David Stephenson, Political Officer of US Embassy in Armenia who would also keep her memory and legacy alive. Anna Koch cited from Amalia's interview a quote that is incredibly helpful and inspiring today. "Corruption, among other factors, is currently hindering political stability, democratic development and economic growth in Armenia. It also deteriorates the moral fabric of the Armenian society."

In the opinion of Avetik Ishkhanyan, the Chairman of Armenian Helsinki Committee Human Rights NGO Amalia was the salt of our society, who made the society tasty, interesting and lively. Her death was a great loss for the Armenian society. 

Referring to the staff of TIAC, Amalia's brother Hovhannes Kostanyan noted, "I wish Amalia Kostanyan's work to be continued by you and I wish a day to come for us not to need your work any more and to have a legitimate and incorruptible society."