TRT World Citizen Awards 2020-2021



The TRT World Citizen Awards honored heroes from around the globe.

TRT World Citizen hosted the annual award ceremony in Istanbul to highlight the stories and efforts of humanitarians who inspire positive change.

The award ceremonies, which could not be organized in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic in the world, held on the 25th of November 2022 in Istanbul.
2020 Educator Awardee
Samuel Isaiah

Samuel Isaiah received the 2020 Educator Award for setting up a crowdfunding campaign in Malaysia to equip the school’s inadequate facilities with the latest education technologies and exploring innovative new teaching methods.

2020 Communicator Awardee
Merve Çirişoğlu

Merve Çirişoğlu received the 2020 Educator Award for using her skills as an artist to make the change she wanted to see in the world. She founded the İyilikhane Association for children and ran many humanitarian projects to make the world a better place.

2020 Youth Awardee
Aikokul Bolotbekova

Aikokul Bolotbekova received the 2020 Youth Award for focusing environmental activism and running projects in order to fight climate change. She travels to conflict zones to provide humanitarian assistance and basic necessities for those affected by violence in the regions, and works to raise funds from all over the world to provide humanitarian aid.

2020 Citizen of the Year Awardee
Dr. Waheed Arian

Dr. Waheed Arian received the 2020 Citizen of the Year Award through his services in healthcare. While working as a doctor for the UK’s National Health Service, Dr. Arian founded the charity organization, an international tele-medicine charity based in the UK, “Arian Teleheal”. It connects medical experts from across the world to medics in conflict zones and low-resource settings.


2020 Lifetime Achievement Awardee – Umar Salmanov

Umar Salmanov received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award through his works and services for most of his life in service to his nation, and to ensure that the identity and culture of his people are not forever lost to the history books. He fights for the rights of Ashika Turks around the world for decades.


2021 Educator Awardee
Sharih Shiwan

Sharih Shiwan received the Educator Award for his work in the field of education in Afghanistan. He founded “Street Academy” to improve education quality by expanding access to educational opportunities and providing high-quality education to those affected by poverty and conflicts.

2021 Communicator Awardee
Eman Askar

The TRT World Citizen Communicator Award goes to scriptwriter, songwriter, and content creator, Eman Askar. She uses her many talents for over 11 years to share stories mostly on social media platforms in an entertaining and engaging way. In 2020 she launched the platform “Emma’s World”, with the mission to “inspire individuals to become the best version of themselves”.

2021 Youth Awardee
Melati & Isabel Wijsen

Melati and Isabel Wijsen received the 2021 Youth Award. In 2013, at the ages of only 10 and 12 years old, the sisters started Bye Bye Plastic Bags, an organization that would grow into an international movement of inspiration, youth empowerment, and environmental activism. They led campaigns and projects for the betterment of the environment.

2021 Citizen of the Year Awardee
Hayri Dağlı

Hayri Dağlı received the 2021 Citizen of the Year Award through his efforts for a permanent and sustainable solution to the issues of poverty, that could be implemented on a global scale. He founded the non-profit organization IDEA Universal, in 2017 which focuses on development programs in Africa and Asia. The IDEA Universal team pioneered the “Smart Villages” model, an integrated and holistic solution to water, agriculture, energy, and education problems in high-poverty regions.

2021 Lifetime Achievement Awardee – Ali Banat

Ali Banat gained the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, he founded the organization Muslims Around the World, with the goal to transform lives, and lifting communities out of poverty. The foundation provides emergency assistance in response to environmental crises and conflict, supports orphans globally, builds homes, water wells, and masjids, and provides food aid, financial support for life-changing surgeries, and income generation opportunities for impoverished communities. Mahmoud Ismail received this award on behalf of Ali Banat.

Award Winners

Award Night Gallery