On November 30 the United Nations Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York hosted a dinner in honor of Ban Ki-moon, whose nine-year term as UN Secretary-General will conclude on December 31, 2016. The co-founders of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative - Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan - expressed their gratitude to Ban Ki-moon in an open letter:
“Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
On behalf of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, we would like to publicly express our gratitude for your unyielding commitment to raising awareness and rallying support for the world’s most vulnerable people during your term as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
We greatly admire and appreciate your tireless efforts to mobilize and spur action to address humanity’s most pressing challenges. You have brought to life the spirit of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, which seeks to recognize those risking themselves for the benefit of others, in your work to advocate on behalf of the defenseless. Throughout your term of office you have remained steadfast to your goal of making the United Nations the pinnacle of progress, delivering meaningful results that advance women, children and the vulnerable around the world.
In particular, we want to acknowledge your commitment to embracing the learnings of the past to better inform judgment and action in the future. The Aurora Prize is given annually on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. In this spirit, we are grateful for your approval of the resolution establishing December 9 as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and the Prevention of this Crime
. We are pleased the resolution acknowledges that the prevention of genocide remains a specific obligation under modern international law. Thanks to your work, December 9 now represents an important annual moment for the global community to come together to raise awareness of the Genocide Convention, its role in combating and preventing the crime of genocide, and the commemoration of the victims of mass violence – today and in history.
As your term draws to a close, we join with the many people around the world in thanking you for your commitment to public service, and we hope to play a role in continuing your legacy.
Co-Founders, Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity”