Journalists from Kazakhstan and Bulgaria are among the winners of the U.S. State Department's 2021 Anti-Corruption Champions Award.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the annual award laureates on December 8, calling those selected "individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption."
Kazakh journalist Zhamilya Maricheva, who works for the Protenge investigative journalism project, and Bulgarian journalist Nikolay Staykov, who is a co-founder of the Anti-Corruption Fund investigative group, were among the winners of the prestigious award.
Other recipients hail from Belize, Cyprus, Guatemala, Honduras, Latvia, Lebanon, Malawi, Mozambique, Thailand, and Venezuela.
Blinken's announcement came on the eve of International Corruption Day as well as the start of the White House Summit for Democracy.
The two-day virtual summit has been billed as an opportunity for leaders and civil society experts from some 110 countries to collaborate on fighting corruption and promoting respect for human rights.
"The launch of the Summit for Democracy on International Anti-Corruption Day provides us with a unique opportunity to recognize those working to make their countries better. We are honored to work alongside champions like these to defeat corruption," Blinken's statement said.