The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced the end of the nomination period for the prestigious Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.
Nominations were officially opened in June at the announcement of the third Aurora Prize Laureate, Rohingya rights activist Mr. Kyaw Hla Aung, and since then a total of 719 submissions have been received, featuring an unprecedented 523 unique candidates. The nominations for the fourth award hailed from six continents and a total of 72 countries, including the United States, Russia, Germany, Spain, Syria, South Africa, Armenia and Singapore.
Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and the Aurora Prize said, “The nominations process reinforces our faith in humanity. Just as our survival – during the Armenian Genocide -- depended on the goodness of strangers, these nominees are ordinary people who demonstrate the same basic humanity and place their lives at risk to protect others. Through the Aurora Prize, we are able to express our gratitude to them by supporting their work and helping them in their work to save others.”
Each nomination will now be carefully reviewed by a panel of professionals and experts in the humanitarian field. These specialists will prepare a shortlist of nominees who have demonstrated exceptional courage, commitment and impact. The shortlist will then be assessed by the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, who will select the finalists and ultimately the 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate. The Committee is chaired by actor and philanthropist, George Clooney and includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson; human rights activists Hina Jilani; former foreign minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans; former president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo; Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, Lord Ara Darzi; former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Vartan Gregorian; and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and former French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner.
Reflecting on the nominations process, Vartan Gregorian, Aurora Co-Founder and Selection Committee member said, “Despite the fact that the hundreds of nominations are evidence of the continuing violence caused by man’s inhumanity to man, the selection process is still very satisfying because we are introduced to some of the most inspiring and courageous stories of individuals from all corners of the world. The Aurora Prize is truly a celebration of the positive impact we can all have, at this very time when it is so sorely needed.”
The 2019 Aurora Humanitarians (finalists) will be announced on April 24, 2019 following the deliberations of the Selection Committee. This will be followed by a weekend of events later in the year in Yerevan, where Armenia will honour the humanitarians and announce the fourth laureate, and engage humanitarians in meaningful dialogues on the world’s most pressing issues.
Denis Mukwege, founder of and medical director at Panzi Hospital, attends a celebration on the hospital campus with survivors and patients. Photo credit: Torleif Svensson/Getty Images