Global Anti-Corruption Heroes Celebrated at International ACE Awards

Organizations, individuals and entities from Asia, North America and Europe, were recognized at the International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Award 2017. To coincide with International Anti-Corruption Day, the winners were presented their award by His Highness Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, The Special Representative of the Emir of the State of Qatar and Their Excellencies Mr. Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations in Geneva and The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov.

The annual Award ceremony took place at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) and acknowledged outstanding contributions towards the prevention of and the fight against corruption around the world. The winners from China, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, the USA and India were presented their Award in support of The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and its anti-corruption mandates, specifically, the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

After a long and thorough selection process, the High-Level Award Committee with recommendation from the Assessment Advisory Board, chose six recipients across four categories, including: Anti-Corruption Lifetime / Outstanding Achievement, Anti-Corruption Innovation, Anti-Corruption Youth Creativity and Engagement, and the Anti-Corruption Academic Research And Education.
In the Anti-Corruption Innovation category, I Paid A Bribe from India was recognized for their innovative online platform in reporting corruption; the site is now the largest crowd-sourced anti-corruption platform in the world. Since its launch on 15 August 2010, I Paid A Bribe (IPAB) has received around 15 million visits, recorded over 36,000 bribes amounting to approximately $430 million USD, from over 1,000 cities and towns. It has also been implemented across Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North America to an additional 30 countries, with three more countries in the process of launching their own IPAB sites.

Two shared accolades in the Anti-Corruption Academic Research And Education category. Professor Xiumei Wang of the People’s Republic of China, has played a pivotal role in creating, directing and promoting anti-corruption practices and protocols in her role both as an academic and government advocate. She was the first person in China to get a doctorate in international criminal law, the first to create a cooperation between a Chinese university and the UN focusing on anti-corruption, and is recognized today for her strong research background and applied experience.

The second awardee in this category is Professor Thomas H. Speedy Rice from the USA; he has made significant contributions to the growth of knowledge in anti-corruption through education-related work. Rice has been actively engaged in the educational efforts of the UNCAC through the UNODC Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD) and been a principle coordinator of global educational workshops.

The award for Anti-Corruption Youth Creativity And Engagement epitomizes battling corruption from its inception; SPAK, I am a Woman Against Corruption received its Award, an Indonesian Anti-Corruption Movement. Acting as a positive platform for enabling changes in perception and practices, the movement focuses on promoting anti-corruption through a family-based approach, training more than 1,300 agents to strengthen and raise public awareness. At the center of all SPAK’s outreach are nine core values; honesty, fairness, cooperation, independence, discipline, responsibility, persistence, courage, and caring. These are translated into various forms of tools, including games, that help the SPAK Agents share their knowledge to drive change in an easy and fun way.

The final award was conferred upon two winners in the category of Anti-Corruption Lifetime Achievement. First Professor Gherardo Colombo from Italy for his dedication and contributions to anti-corruption for more than forty years. Professor Colombo has advocated anti-corruption from his role as a magistrate opposing corruption and white collars crimes, then as an educator for young people, teaching to respect the law and rules, to protecting the rights and the dignity of the people, and helping to instilling personal responsibility.

The second winner is Professor Muhyieddeen Touq, who has devoted his professional career to politics, diplomacy and governance matters. His legacy will be remembered for his role in chairing the ad-hoc committee for the negotiation of UNCAC that led to its ratification by 183 countries. The UNCAC is the only comprehensive globally binding anti-corruption convention and its robust review of implementation mechanism now covers all State Parties to the Convention. The UNCAC implementation is a benchmark to governments’ commitment to fight corruption across the world.

To celebrate the Awards and International Anti-Corruption Day, a commissioned five-meter sculpture by Ahmed Al Bahrani, a contemporary Iraqi artist and sculptor, was unveiled at the Place des Nations in front of the UNOG, serving as a bold visual statement against the battle against corruption. Delivering the same strong message as the inaugural Award in Vienna last year, the steel composition of a raised hand signifies the international communities’ efforts to combat corruption and the unwavering strength and resolve of those presently engaged in this fight. The interlinked lines represent a globalized world, united in the fight against corruption and the see-through construction, denotes the importance of transparency. The small triangles that intertwine throughout the statue also represent each the countries around the world and how by coming together, we can make positive change.

The International ACE Award was established by The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center (ROLACC Doha). HE Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri, UNODC Regional Special Advocate for the Prevention of Corruption, announced its establishment, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of the State of Qatar, at the 8th Annual Conference of International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) in November 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Award was open to submissions from around the world, submitted by third party entities to nominate any organisations, groups and persons of any nationality, demonstrating significant commitment and contributions toward the prevention and control of corruption. The evaluation process was initiated by a call for nominations, which were then submitted through an on-line nomination process.