The Aurora Dialogues Venice discussion titled “Conversation with the 2021 Aurora Humanitarians” will take place on October 8, 2021, during the 2021 Aurora Prize events in Italy. During the meeting, the five 2021 Aurora Humanitarians will introduce their work and the causes that motivate them, as well as discuss the support that is required to deliver tangible change in their communities. The conversation with the Humanitarians will be organized at the Venice International University Auditorium on the San Servolo Island (Isola di San Sèrvolo).
The session will include a moderated discussion with the Aurora Humanitarians and a Q&A with the audience. The discussion will be held in English with Armenian, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish simultaneous translation available.
The 2021 Aurora Prize Ceremony and accompanying events will take place in Venice, Italy, on October 8-10, 2021. This will be the first Ceremony in Europe and it will highlight the extensive connection between Venice, this universally important cultural site, and the spirit of Aurora, with its deeply embedded respect for the human life shared by every Armenian and every member of Aurora global movement alike. It will also be the first offline Aurora Prize Ceremony since the breakout of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Pulitzer Prize Winner (Nigeria/USA)
Dele Olojede is a writer, editor and publisher, whose career in journalism spans nearly four decades and has taken him to more than 100 countries, including stints as bureau chief at the United Nations, and Johannesburg and Beijing, for New York Newsday. In 2005, he received the Pulitzer Prize, the highest honor in journalism, for his coverage of the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide.
2020 Aurora Prize Laureate; Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Center (Somalia)
Fartuun Adan and her daughter, Ilwad Elman, lead the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu, Somalia, protecting women’s rights, promoting peacebuilding, and rehabilitating child soldiers. In 2010, Ms. Adan initiated the Sister Somalia program to support gender-based violence victims who had survived rapes and/or escaped forced marriages. She established Somalia’s first sexual violence hotline and rape crisis center in Mogadishu in 2011.
Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; Co-Founder and Chairman, Moderna; CEO, Flagship Pioneering (USA)
Dr. Noubar Afeyan is founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, a company that conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category life science platform companies to transform human health and sustainability. An entrepreneur and biochemical engineer, Dr. Afeyan holds more than 100 patents and has co-founded and helped build more than 60 life science and technology startups during his 33-year career. He is co-founder and chairman of the board of Moderna, the pioneering messenger RNA vaccine company addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic, and serves on the boards of several private and public companies.
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Mental Health Activist; Founder of the St Camille Association (Benin/ Côte D’ivoire)
A mechanic-turned-social activist who founded the St Camille Association that has been working for over 30 years to reduce stigma about mental illness and to provide modern mental healthcare services to the people in need across West Africa. In African culture, mental illness is often seen as a supernatural affliction with those suffering from it often isolated from society or even literally chained outside.
Ruby Alba Castaño
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Human Rights Activist; Founder of ASOCATDAME (Colombia)
A human rights defender and formerly one of the main figures of SINTAGRIM, a collective of agricultural workers fighting for their right to dignity. After receiving death threats and surviving several assassination attempts, she was forced to step down. Today, she continues her struggle as head of ASOCATDAME (Meta Association for Peasants, Rural Workers and Defenders of the Environment).
Lord Ara Darzi
Chair, Aurora Prize Selection Committee; Director, Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London (UK)
Professor Darzi is Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. He also holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London and the Institute of Cancer Research and is Executive Chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health in Qatar. He is a Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Hospital NHS Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Trust.
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Healthcare Professional, Co-founder of Partners In Health (USA)
Co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health (PIH). He has dedicated his life to helping those in need, designing and implementing sustainable healthcare solutions for the poorest and underserved communities across the globe.
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Peace and Women’s Rights Activist; Co-founder of Women's Solidarity for Inclusive Peace and Development; Fund for Congolese Women (D.R. Congo)
Peace and women’s rights activist who has been supporting the victims of wartime sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for years, shining a light on the desperate plight of thousands of Congolese women and exposing the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Medical Doctor (Yemen)
A Yemeni physician who provides life-saving support to the starving population of Hodeida in Yemen. In a region where there are virtually no doctors left, she remains the local population’s last hope, providing them with medical treatment, food baskets, and essential supplies.
Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; Co-Founder, Noôdome; Impact Investor and Social Entrepreneur (Armenia/Russia)
Ruben Vardanyan is a Russian business leader, social entrepreneur and venture philanthropist of Armenian origin, Co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. He and his wife Veronika invest in large-scale multifaceted projects in the sphere of global education, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and solving humanitarian problems. Ruben and his family, together with partners from various countries, have invested about $1.5 bln in projects all over the world developing a commercial approach that relies on involving blended financing to find solutions to social problems.
Top photo: Venice International University