Aurora international humanitarian prize in Armenia

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Unfortunately, there are many places where life is unfair, and in some parts of the world, people suffer a lot. Sitting in our warm houses and comfortable armchairs, we even do not know what some people have to pass through each day to survive. However, some people do their best to help them. Aurora is an international humanitarian prize that is awarded to people who despite danger and difficulties invest a lot in helping people, in preserving lives and in making the world better and safer place.

©Unknown
©Unknown

About Aurora prize

This prize has been initiated on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide (eight years: 1915-1923) and in gratitude to their saviors. It brings together humanitarians from all over the world. The initiative is planned to be held for eight years from 2015 to 2013. It is an act of gratitude by Armenians to the world that once saved their lives giving them shelter in different countries. The winner of Aurora prize receives US$100,000 to use it in her/his future humanitarian activities, either to buy needed stuff or to invest in the field that will serve as a tool to accomplish their important mission. As indicated on Aurora's website they also get an opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by nominating other organizations, that inspired their work, for a US$1,000,000 award.

Founders and co-founders

The Aurora prize takes place once a year in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. It is an idea of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian (President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York), Noubar Afeyan (American-Armenian entrepreneur and the founded Flagship Pioneering) and Ruben Vardanyan (social entrepreneur and the founder of IDeA foundation). The co-founders of the initiative are performer and filmmaker George Clooney, President of Elie Wiesel foundation of humanity Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Vartan Gregorian, Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate Leymah Gbowee.

©iStock/gustavofrazao
©iStock/gustavofrazao

Aurora laureates

The winner of the first Aurora prize was Marguerite Barankitse from Burundi who saved lives of hundreds of children and sheltered them.

The winner of the second Aurora prize was Tom Catena, an American physician who has been working as the only doctor in Gidel in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan since 2008.

The main activities of the event take place on the event weekend that has three stages - Honoring humanitarians, presentation of the Aurora laureate and the final ceremony that is a tribute to the laureate. This year the last one will be held on June 10 at the Spendiaryan National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. However, the laureates usually arrive one week earlier, which gives a great opportunity to many locals and internationals to attend open lectures conducted by those humanitarians as well as “conversations with the humanitarians”. This information and the dates of the events are always posted on the Aurora's website and their Facebook page.

Aurora international humanitarian prize is to awaken the humanity and to urge people to help those who are in need. Each year new laureates are presented. Among those people are Muhammad Darwish (a medical student who saved hundreds of lives during Syrian war), Denis Mukwege ( gynecological surgeon who provided support to thousands of victims of sexual violence in Congo),Jamila Afghani (educated girls and women in Afghanistan putting her life in danger), Syeda Ghulam Fatima (who is fighting against bonded labor in Pakistan) and others. Seeing them and reading their life stories you understand that yes, they are heroes of our days and it’s worth knowing them name by name.

Spendiaryan National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
Spendiaryan National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
Yerevan Opera Theater, Yerevan, Armenia
Aurora prize
Aurora prize
Yerevan, Armenia

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The author

Lusine Vardanyan

Lusine Vardanyan

I’m Lusine, from Armenia. I like to travel and explore new places. I'm interested in art, culture, music and sports. On itinari I’ll show you Armenia the way I see it.

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