A series of discussions bringing together leading humanitarians, health experts, entrepreneurs, academics and philanthropists, the Aurora Dialogues focus on the modern world’s most pressing humanitarian issues. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Aurora Dialogues have gone online in 2020, allowing people from around the world to join the discussion and contribute to it.
In keeping with the spirit of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues shine a light on those working to address today’s atrocities in a real and substantial manner and seek to identify ideas that will deliver tangible change. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Aurora Dialogues have switched to online format in cooperation with the Futures Studio discussion platform to better accommodate the existing restrictions without compromising the essence and goals of the discussions, and continued its efforts to find a way of lightening the burden of the most vulnerable while empowering humanitarian workers on the ground.
The first online event of the 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online took place on June 11, 2020. The discussion titled “Covid-19 Diaries: Humanitarians on the frontline” featured Comfort Ero, Program Director of Crisis Group Africa; Andrew Hudson, Executive Director of Crisis Action; Sebastian Juenemann, Founder and CEO of CADUS, and Sunitha Krishnan, Founder of Prajwala and 2018 Aurora Humanitarian, and was moderated by Nicola Stanisch, Executive Director of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. The event focused on how humanitarians operate in current situation, what obstacles they and their organizations are facing and where they find the strength to continue to do what they do and show the world that ordinary people can make a huge difference.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Unprepared for the Worst: The Danger of COVID-19 for Refugees” took place on June 19, 2020, ahead of the World Refugee Day, and featured two Aurora Prize Laureates who have a first-hand experience of dealing with the crisis and its consequences for those in need.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “When Youth Takes the Lead” took place on July 30, 2020 and featured the Aurora Prize Selection Committee members Mary Robinson, Ernesto Zedillo and Leymah Gbowee.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Conversation with the 2020 Aurora Humanitarians” took place on August 19, 2020, the World Humanitarian Day, and featured the 2020 Aurora Humanitarians Angelique Namaika, Sakena Yacoobi, Sophie Beau and Ilwad Elman. Marking the global celebration of people helping people, the discussion focused on the work of these selfless individuals, especially in a situation exacerbated by the global pandemic of COVID-19, and was moderated by Salpi Ghazarian, Director of the Institute of Armenian Studies of the University of Southern California.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Armenian Doctors on the Frontline” took place on August 27, 2020 and focused on the Armenian healthcare professionals working in developing countries, specifically in war zones and remote areas of the world. Three doctors shared their experience and spoke about the risks it involved and the challenges they faced as they worked with limited resources in substandard conditions.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Why You Should Work for a Nonprofit Organization” was held on September 4, 2020, ahead of the International Day of Charity, and focused on the benefits and challenges of working for a nonprofit organization. The discussion aimed to better prepare young people to make their future career choices and to help them see the advantages of serving a greater purpose and making a tangible difference in the lives of others, which, first of all, will contribute to their personal and professional fulfillment.
The 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event, “The Power of Humanity: How to Prevent War and Genocide”, was held on September 22, 2020. This event brought together two outstanding panelists, Mirza Dinnayi, 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate, and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Huber, former Council President of the Evangelical Church in Germany. The discussion was moderated by Georg Garlichs, CEO of ESMT Berlin. The event was hosted by the Global Perspectives Initiative in partnership with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, ESMT Berlin and Stiftung Garnisonkirche Potsdam within the Aurora Dialogues Online.
This year, students from UWC East Africa, UWC Mahindra College and UWC South East Asia dialed in remotely to present their projects at the 2020 Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Responding to Change: New Horizons in Education” to a combined Facebook and Zoom audience of more than 3,200 people, and a jury of notable and experienced humanitarians, including Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee; Anna Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Noubar & Anna Afeyan Foundation; Marguerite Barankitse, 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate, Sanaya Bharucha, Director for Community Impact and Student Leadership at Teach For All, and Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, Chair of UWC International. The event was organized in cooperation with the Futures Studio discussion platform.
The Aurora Dialogues Online event titled “Trauma and How to Cope with It” was organized on December 18, 2020 and focused on understanding trauma and how it affects individuals, families and communities.