The Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture on Human Rights and Freedom of Speech was established in 2008 to remember and commemorate the legacy of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink who was assasinated on January 19, 2007. Dink was the founding editor of the bilingual Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos and a leading advocate for human rights in Turkey. Today, Dink's legacy provides a powerful source of inspiration for the problems of minorities in Turkey. Similarly, Dink has become a rallying figure for groups aspiring for greater human rights and freedom of expression in Turkey and in the world. In this context, the goal of the Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture is triple: first, to celebrate and commemorate Dink’s legacy as a tireless advocate on behalf of democratization, equality and human rights, second, to contribute to the kind of progressive politics for which he lived and worked, and third, to build a platform where different ideas can be expressed.
To that end, the annual Hrant Dink Memorial Lecture is traditionally delivered by speakers whose own commitments to human rights and freedom of speech span a variety of research interests and activist projects, ranging from anti-racist and anti-apartheid resistance to social justice in urban planning. Taking place in the month of January each year, the lecture is meant to serve as a reminder on multiple levels, allowing us to commemorate Dink’s life and work while recognizing the resonances between that work and local struggles for equality and social justice throughout the world.