Charlemagne Prize Laureates 2022 Maria Kalesnikava, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Veronica Tsepkalo


  • Maria Kalesnikava was born in Minsk on 24 April 1982.
  • She studied flute and conducting at the Belarusian State Academy of Music in Minsk, then Early Music and New Music at the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart (until 2012).
  • She taught music from 1999 to 2019, firstly in Belarus then in Germany.
  • In 2019, she became the art director of the "OK-16" culture centre in Minsk.
  • She has been imprisoned as a political prisoner in Belarus since September 2020.
  • Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was born in Mikashevichy on 11 September 1982.
  • From 2000, she studied Educational Sciences at the State Pedagogical University in Mazyr, specialising in English and German. She then worked as a translator. After the birth of her two children, she worked primarily as a homemaker.
  • In 2020, she ran for the office of the President of Belarus. When the alleged result of the "elections" – which violated all international standards – was announced, Alexander Lukashenka was claimed to have received a good 80%, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya just 10% of the votes. However, according to independent observers, she had, in reality, won the majority of the votes.
  • When she protested against the election fraud, she was threatened by Belarusian security officials and forced to flee into exile in Lithuania in August 2020.
  • Veronica Tsepkalo was born in Mogilev on 7 September 1976.
  • In 1998, she graduated from the Faculty of International Relations at the Belarus State University. This was followed by further studies at the Belarus State Economic University from 2004 to 2006. Until she found herself forced to flee the country in August 2020, she worked in Belarus as Senior Manager for Business Development for Microsoft.
  • Currently, she is the Chairwoman of the Belarus Women’s Foundation.


Foto Siegerinnen

Maria Kalesnikava Swetlana Tichanowskaja Veronica Tsepkalo

Maria Kalesnikava, Swetlana Tichanowskaja and Veronica Tsepkalo