ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
FEBRUARY 23, 2021
Around the world, corruption threatens security and stability, hinders economic growth, undermines democracy and human rights, destroys trust in public institutions, facilitates transnational crime, and siphons away public and private resources. The Biden Administration recognizes that we will only be successful in combating these issues by working in concert with committed partners, including courageous individuals who champion anticorruption efforts and countries working to fulfill their commitments to international anticorruption standards. For that reason, I am announcing a new International Anticorruption Champions Award, recognizing individuals who have worked tirelessly, often in the face of adversity, to defend transparency, combat corruption, and ensure accountability in their own countries.
As President Biden has emphasized, our commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability is a mission that we must live at home and exemplify abroad. I commend the dedication of these 12 brave individuals to these same ideals. The honorees are: Ardian Dvorani of Albania, Diana Salazar of Ecuador, Sophia Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia, Juan Francisco Sandoval Alfaro of Guatemala, Ibrahima Kalil Gueye of Guinea, Anjali Bhardwaj of India, Dhuha A. Mohammed of Iraq, Bolot Temirov of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mustafa Abdullah Sanalla of Libya, Victor Sotto of The Philippines, Francis Ben Kaifala of Sierra Leone, and Ruslan Ryaboshapka of Ukraine. They inspire us and so many of their counterparts pursuing these ideals around the world. The United States enforces one of the most robust anticorruption frameworks in the world. We were the first to criminalize foreign bribery and, in partnership with foreign counterparts, have recovered and returned more than $1 billion in stolen public assets in the past two years alone. We use a range of tools to promote accountability for corrupt individuals, combat impunity globally, and engage in multilateral fora to fight corruption and strengthen citizen engagement. We will defeat corruption by implementing sound reforms consistent with international anticorruption commitments; developing transparent, accountable institutions; and empowering citizens, journalists, and civil society organizations to help defeat this global threat to security and democracy.