Aurora to Refocus Prize on Immediate Crises

Aurora to Refocus Prize on Immediate Crises

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced the adjustment of the structure of its flagship program, the Aurora Prize. From 2022 onwards, half of the Prize award will be directed by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative to combat one of the worst humanitarian crises where human suffering requires urgent intervention. In addition, this year, considering the acute needs of the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) affected by the 2020 war, Aurora will recommend the 2021 Aurora Prize Laureate to direct $250,000 (or 25%) of the award funds to addressing urgent humanitarian issues in Artsakh. The Aurora Co-Founders are committed to matching this contribution to bring the total amount to $500,000.

Since its inception in 2016, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has awarded an annual Aurora Prize of $1M to outstanding individuals in recognition of their humanitarian work. The Prize is a unique form of Gratitude in Action: its recipients continue the cycle of giving by donating 90% of the award to the organizations that help people in need. 

Five years on, the Committee that oversees the Prize has, in consultation with the Aurora Laureates, decided to adjust its structure to better reflect the reality of ongoing global humanitarian crises. The decision on where to direct the funding will be made by the Aurora Laureates together with the Aurora Prize Committee and the Initiative’s Co-Founders.

“As someone who has spent many years working in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian crisis in a conflict zone, I am aware of how badly help is needed there. That is why I am fully supportive of the decision to prioritize addressing such issues and supporting the people who fight them,” noted Dr. Tom Catena, 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate and Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

At the final stage, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will work with the most recent Laureate to choose or develop up to three projects to be supported or launched with the $500,000 share of the Aurora Prize award in the selected crisis area. The remaining $500,000 of the Aurora Prize award will be distributed in accordance with the Gratitude in Action principle – the next Aurora Prize Laureate will receive a grant and the rest of the funding is to be divided between up to three humanitarian organizations that help people in need in proportions proposed by the Laureate.

The 2021 Aurora Prize Ceremony and accompanying events will take place in Venice, Italy, on October 8-10, 2021, whereas nominations are currently open for the 2022 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. Until October 31, 2021, any person can submit a nomination for candidates they believe have overcome great personal challenges to help others.

Photo: Zhanna Petrosyan (35), refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh and her 7 children stand next to their belongings in a center for refugees, in Yerevan, on October 24, 2020 after fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh and the fierce fighting. © Karen Minasyan/AFP via Getty Images