September 23, 2019
World-renowned musician, humanitarian to headline the two-day festival filled with inspiring public talks, lectures, master classes and charity initiatives to facilitate humanitarian action.
Dana Leong, the world’s top electric cellist and trombone player, will participate in the #AraratChallenge Fest to take place at the Freedom Square in Yerevan, Armenia on October 19 and 20, 2019, during the inaugural Aurora Forum. Aimed at inspiring a grassroot movement around humanitarian actions, the two-day festival combines culture and education, and features inspiring public talks, musical performances, discussions, lectures and masterclasses.
Leong has an extensive musical pedigree; he is the youngest ever instructor to teach jazz music classes at Stanford University, beginning his tenure at 16 years of age. His musical career has spanned multiple genres, with his Grammys in Latin Jazz being awarded for his collaboration with Paquito D’rivera. He has also worked with Kanye West, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, DJ A-Trak, DJ Qbert and other famous artists. A speaker at TEDxShanghai, Leong is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and A U.S. Ambassador of Music.
“I am thrilled and excited to play at the #AraratChallenge Fest – to be surrounded by the world’s leading humanitarians and innovators is an honor in itself. It is one of my goals to use my position as an artist and musician to uplift others. Giving back is at the heart of the #AraratChallenge Fest, and I hope that through music and art we can come together with renewed hope.”
A manifestation of the energy and passion of its attendees and their cultures, the #AraratChallenge Fest is a celebration of those who are inspired to help the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Notable speakers include Tom Catena, Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; Margarite Barankitse, 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate and Founder of Maison Shalom; David Ignatius, Associate Editor and Columnist for the Washington Post; Wendy Kopp, Co-Founder and CEO of Teach for All; Marjorie Margolies, President of Women's Campaign International; Lamya Haji Bashar, Yazidi Human Rights Activist and others.
The #AraratChallenge Fest will also feature an art-focused activity, where art curators will work with groups of attendees to create collaborative art pieces that symbolize a “new beginning” for various countries and regions around the world. A chess tournament, one of Armenia’s favorite sports, as well as masterclasses on various topics—from carpet-weaving to blogging—are also included in the agenda of the festival that will take place within the framework of the first Aurora Forum, developed to achieve a meaningful and sustainable national and global change.