Solidarity Beyond Borders

English
Intro: 
The first Aurora Dialogues event in New York was held on March 1, 2018 in partnership with 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The discussion entitled “Solidarity Beyond Borders: Stepping Up When Others Step Back” opened with the welcome remarks by Alice M. Greenwald, President and CEO of National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Vartan Gregorian, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. The program was continued with the panel discussion moderated by David Ignatius, Associate Editor of The Washington Post. Panelists included Marguerite Barankitse, 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate, Lieutenant Bill Keegan, founder and President of H.E.A.R.T. 9/11, John Prendergast, Founding Director of Enough Project, and Dr. Tom Catena, 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate through a video message. The event was concluded with the closing remarks by Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
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The first Aurora Dialogues event in New York was held on March 1, 2018 in partnership with 9/11 Memorial & Museum. The discussion entitled “Solidarity Beyond Borders: Stepping Up When Others Step Back” opened with the welcome remarks by Alice M. Greenwald, President and CEO of National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Vartan Gregorian, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. The program was continued with the panel discussion moderated by David Ignatius, Associate Editor of The Washington Post. Panelists included Marguerite Barankitse, 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate, Lieutenant Bill Keegan, founder and President of H.E.A.R.T. 9/11, John Prendergast, Founding Director of Enough Project, and Dr. Tom Catena, 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate through a video message. The event was concluded with the closing remarks by Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
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The discussion opened with the introduction of the event’s theme by David Ignatius, who noted: “Tonight, we are going to focus on the best, the best that people can do, the spirit of heroism and sacrifice that leads people to step forward and take risks, take responsibility for others and make generous commitment that Aurora has been trying to understand and honor now for several years.”
 
Alice M. Greenwald emphasized the importance of the partnership between Aurora and National September 11 Memorial & Museum especially in initiating conversation on topics such as heroism. “Heroes are the people with high empathic intelligence. We live in a world where there is a shocking degree of what psychologists are now calling empathy deficit. We are all more than amazed when we account people who act out of surplus of empathy when their fellow human beings are in need. I cannot think of more appropriate location for the program focused on the empathic roots of heroism than the 9/11 Memorial & Museum,” she said.
 
President of Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian spoke about historical background of the actions that people took on behalf of others in challenging situations in Armenian and American contexts. He said: “The reason we are here in this great monument and museum that stands as a memorial of those who died in a senseless terrorist attack to remember them, is to express our gratitude, admiration and respect to those who died and to the many who demonstrated heroism and self-sacrifice in a face of all odds.”
 
The keynote presentation of Aurora Dialogues New York 2018 revealed the insights of a research on heroism and heroic actions done by psychologist and Founder and President of Heroic Imagination Project Dr. Philip Zimbardo who explained who the heroes are and why the world needs heroes. “Moral Courage is the core of heroic action. Heroes are the force of Good that opposes Evil in all its many forms – both perpetrators of the evil of action, and the evil of inaction revealed in public apathy and indifference,” he said and added: “True heroes put their best selves forward in service to humanity.”
 
During the panel discussion David Ignatius asked the panelists to tell their personal stories of heroism. Marguerite Barankitse, founder of “Maison Shalom” told about her experience and sufferings during civil war in Burundi between Tutsis and Hutus and said that solidarity is the key for survival and bringing positive change. “I could never step back when atrocities were going on because I believe that we are most powerful with our love. Inside our hearts there is enough energy, enough love, enough compassion to create difference." 
 
Lieutenant Bill Keegan, Retired Port Authority Police Department Lieutenant, Special Ops, who was Night Operations Commander of the World Trade Center Rescue/Recovery Teams at Ground Zero from September 11, 2001 until the end of the recovery, noted: “If we don’t introspectively look at what happened to us, how we got through it and if we don’t process and come out better then we don’t take those hard-learned lessons. We have to take these heart-learned lessons and share them with others. That’s how we make sense out of senselessness. That’s how we move civilization forward.”
 
John Prendergast concluded the panel discussion sharing his thoughts on how people can and should take an action in difficult times to help others. “The key for change is to create and channel peoples’ interests and energy into organizations that deal with the issues that we care about. To do something you have to join one of the organizations building a movement that deals with the environmental destruction, human rights abuses or other issues. Finding vehicles to encourage people to get off the couch and get engaged in social cause and social movement is really fundamental.”
 
Dr. Tom Catena, the only surgeon at “Mother of Mercy” hospital in Sudan’s Nuba mountains sent a video message addressing the participants of the discussion. He said: “I think the word hero is something that we don’t want. We don’t want to be called a hero. Having this moniker applied to us makes us very uncomfortable. It makes to feel like we always have to do something heroic. I think that’s not the real essence of being a hero. The premise of a hero starts with the idea that all lives have inherent worth and value.”
 
Aurora Dialogues event in New York closed with the remarks by Noubar Afeyan, Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. He thanked the participants and National September 11 Memorial & Museum for hosting the event. “We began to realize that our experience, the experience of others in wars, genocides, in other disasters, people who are near death, actually go through the same journey. There is a common thread and that is when you are given a second chance in life what are you going to do about that? It turns out that the families of survivors live with these stories, it just does not go away. The only way it’s going to go away is to turn it to some source of good,” he said.
 
Following New York, the next Aurora Dialogues will take place in Moscow in April leading up to the annual Aurora Dialogues in Yerevan in June 2018.
 

Subtitle: 
The drivers of human solidarity were explored during the first Aurora Dialogues event in New York City
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