February 22, 2018
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative takes the Aurora concept and program to the world.
“The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, in its third year, is transforming the Armenian experience into a global movement committed to inspiring each of us to protect the humanity and life of our fellow man. It is gratifying to welcome Aurora’s heroes to various venues around the world and witness their impact on others in the humanitarian community, as well as on students, teachers, members of the media,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, on the eve of the second Aurora Dialogues event outside Armenia.
On March 1, the Aurora Dialogues will be held in New York in collaboration with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. This comes just three months after a successful Aurora Dialogues program was held in Berlin, in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Foundation. These collaborations are yet another way that the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, embodies its vision of Gratitude in Action.
Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, explained. “Today, Armenians of our generation and those who come after us, have the opportunity to express our gratitude by taking action and making a difference in people’s lives. Not to use that opportunity to give back would be a sign of immense ingratitude.”
In December 2017 the inaugural Aurora Prize Laureate, Marguerite Barankitse, together with three Aurora Prize finalists participated in the Aurora Dialogues in Berlin. In March 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate Dr. Tom Catena, together with three Aurora finalists and Marguerite Barankitse will be featured during the New York program. After New York, the Aurora Dialogues will continue to travel around the world, including to Moscow, London, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Beirut and other global centers.
“In the first two years, we focused on bringing the world to Aurora,” said Vardanyan. “We invited leaders and personalities from around the world to become members of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, to participate in a prize ceremony that combined the best of human values and the Armenian heritage, to participate in discussions about current issues critical to the future of humanity. Now, in our third year, Aurora’s programs reach five continents and this year’s prize ceremony which will be held in a very different special, highly symbolic venue, will reflect that global presence.”
Aurora’s greatest impact may be considered the work that is done by the Aurora Prize recipients. Each Laureate is gifted $100,000 and is offered the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by distributing an additional $1 million award to organizations which support the Laureate’s vision. Over the last two years, 6 organizations in 14 countries have served thousands of women, children and others in need of help to survive. Aurora’s impact from Brazil to Burundi means, in the words of the 2016 Laureate Marguerite Barankitse, “Children in Africa and Latin America know that Armenians are helping to make their lives more hopeful.”
Aurora’s international reach is also evident through the Aurora Humanitarian Index, which demonstrates that there is a consistently growing awareness of the Aurora name and mission in a dozen cities around the world. The fact that over these three years, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity has received nearly 1500 nominations from over 125 countries is evidence of Aurora’s global range.
Beyond the Aurora Prize, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative offers scholarship support to 24 students from 9 countries at United World Colleges and 10 students from 4 countries at American University of Armenia; they will carry the Aurora vision with them throughout their lives.
The commitment to proactively integrate Armenia into the global conversation is seeing results. The dissemination of the Aurora message around the world is the greatest source of satisfaction and measure of success.