We mark the occasion of International Anticorruption Day each year to raise awareness of corruption’s corrosive effects on society and to help unite the global community in countering it. As we have witnessed too many times, corruption erodes public trust in government and democratic institutions, deepens poverty and inequity, and stifles opportunity and growth. It also affects virtually every aspect of the daily lives of many people around the world. That is why President Biden designated the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest, and why combating corruption is a central theme of the Summit for Democracy. The Summit is a chance for all of us to learn from one another about what works best in fighting corruption, where we are falling short, and how to work together to address the shortcomings.
This year, on the eve of International Anticorruption Day and the Summit for Democracy, I am pleased to announce the second cohort of our international Anticorruption Champions. Often when speaking of massive, complex challenges like corruption, we lose sight of the fact that our ability to make meaningful progress and change people’s lives for the better comes down to the work of individuals – people who through sheer tenacity, creativity, and bravery, show us that even the most daunting problems are surmountable.
Today, we recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption. The honorees are Dorothy Bradley of Belize, Nikolay Staykov of Bulgaria, Alexandra Attalides of Cyprus, Carlos Giovanni Ruano Pineda of Guatemala, Gabriela Alejandra Castellanos of Honduras, Jamiliya Maricheva of Kazakhstan, Juris Juriss of Latvia, Riad Kobeissi of Lebanon, Martha Chizuma of Malawi, Denise Namburete of Mozambique, Dr. Torplus Yomnak of Thailand, and Carlos Paparoni of Venezuela.
The State Department counters corruption through country-to-country diplomacy, supporting international standards and their implementation, building and strengthening government institutions, using visa restrictions and sanctions to hold corrupt officials accountable, and supporting journalists and non-government actors that promote transparency and advocate for accountability for corrupt individuals. We are proud of our record, but we recognize that in our interconnected global system, no country can effectively fight corruption alone. The launch of the Summit for Democracy on International Anticorruption 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.