The Aurora Dialogues Venice discussion titled “Health Security: Humanitarian Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic” will take place on October 10, 2021, during the 2021 Aurora Prize events in Italy. During this discussion, the speakers will highlight the connection between the pandemic and the disaster risk drivers, including the lack of international solidarity, poverty, and increased number of conflicts. Participants will also discuss the lessons learned from COVID-19 and the steps necessary to prevent the future pandemics and will explore what lies at the root of sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience.
The session will be organized in the Main Hall of the Mekhitarist Moorat Rafael College. This Armenian college was established in Venice in 1836 and is located in the Baroque-style Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, built in 1690. The Mekhitarist order has it owned since 1850. The College is famous for its distinguished alumni, both Armenian and non-Armenian. Over the years, the Moorat Rafael College had been providing education reflecting the highest academic standards and had employed some of the most accomplished educators of the time. The College was closed in 1997, and today, the palace building is a popular location for the Venice Biennale exhibitions and other events.
The discussion will be held in English, with Armenian, Russian, French, Spanish and Italian 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.
Lord Ara Darzi
Chair, Aurora Prize Selection Committee; Director, Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London
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.
2020 Aurora Prize Laureate; Executive Director, Elman Peace and Human Rights Center
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, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; Co-Founder and Chairman, Moderna; CEO, Flagship Pioneering
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.
2016 Aurora Prize Laureate; Founder, Maison Shalom
Founder of Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in Burundi who has been taking care of orphans and refugees in the aftermath of civil war in the country. She has reunited kids who were separated from their families, whether by war or through incarceration, and created a new home for orphaned children. When war broke out, Barankitse, a Tutsi, tried to hide 72 of her closest Hutu neighbors to keep them safe from persecution. They were discovered and executed, whilst Barankitse was forced to watch. Following this gruesome incident, she started her work saving and caring for children and refugees. She has saved roughly 30,000 children and in 2008, she opened a hospital, which has treated more than 80,000 patients to date.
2019 Aurora Prize Laureate; Co-Founder and Director of Luftbrücke Irak (Air Bridge Iraq)
Co-Founder and Director of Air Bridge Iraq Yazidi activist Mirza Dinnayi dedicated his whole life to saving the victims of the Iraq war, evacuating women and children from territories controlled by ISIS and providing those with rehabilitation and support. He personally transports people to safety and delivers food and water to isolated areas, even after surviving a helicopter crash.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Nobel Laureate; Iranian lawyer, a human rights activist; Founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran
Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, became a judge after graduating from Tehran University Law School and passing the relevant qualifying exams. She soon progressed through the ranks and in 1975 became the first woman to preside over a court. Shirin Ebadi has won numerous awards, including the Leibniz Ring in Germany, Légion d'Honneur in France, and Scholars at Risk prize in Ireland. She is also honorary citizen of several world cities, including Paris and Genoa. Moreover, to date, Shirin Ebadi has received 26 honorary doctorates from various universities throughout the world, including the University of Cambridge (UK), Brown University (United States), and University of British Colombia (Canada).
2021 Aurora Humanitarian; Medical Anthropologist; Harvard Professor; Co-Founder and Chief Strategist, Partners In Health (PIH)
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.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Nobel Laureate; Founder and President of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa
2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a Liberian Peace Activist, Trained Social Worker and Women’s Rights Advocate. She is the Founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA). She also currently serves as the Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York, USA. She is the Co-Founder and former Executive Director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A) and a Founding Member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET).
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Co-Founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former Health and Foreign Minister of France
Internationally renowned politician and physician Bernard Kouchner co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in 1971 and co-founded Médecins du Monde in 1980. From 2007 to 2010 he served as France’s minister of foreign and European affairs. Three times he was appointed as the Minister of Health between 1992 to 2002.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Chairman of the Board, Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship; Pulitzer Prize winner
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.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Co-Founder and Chair, IMAGINE
Paul Polman is Co-Founder and Co-chair of IMAGINE, a social venture which mobilises business leaders around tackling climate change and global inequality. He is also Chair of The B Team, Saïd Business School and The Valuable 500, as well as Honorary Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact.
Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member; Chair of The Elders; Former President of Ireland and Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mary Robinson is Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice in Trinity College Dublin and Chair of The Elders. She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is a member of the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. Between 2013 and 2016 Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy in three roles; first for the Great Lakes region of Africa, then on Climate Change leading up to the Paris Agreement and in 2016 as his Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate. Her Foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, established in 2010, came to a planned end in April 2019.
Co-Founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; Co-Founder, Noôdome; Impact Investor and Social Entrepreneur
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.
Founder and Managing Director, AVC Solutions for Healthcare
Global expert in healthcare with extensive experience in MedTech and a successful track record in various corporate executive roles across emerging and developed markets. Mr. Voskerchyan consults public organizations, established businesses, and startups, helping them to transform, innovate, and thrive in the long term.