Doctor Tom Catena, 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, will visit Armenia ahead of the 2018 Aurora Prize Award Ceremony and a series of special events. This year, the special weekend of events will take place on June 8-10, culminating with the announcement of the 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate. A highlight of the weekend of events is the annual Aurora Dialogues, an international forum where leaders from the humanitarian and business communities will convene to discuss ways the global community can take meaningful action to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Tom Catena will arrive in Yerevan on May 31 and will start his tour of Armenia and Artsakh. On June 4 he will pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide at the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial where he will also plant a tree in the Memory Alley of Tsitsernakaberd complex. On the same day Catena will attend the presentation and First Day of Issue Ceremony of a special postage stamp featuring him as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate.
Doctor Tom Catena arrived in Sudan as a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York. He has since saved thousands of lives as the sole surgeon permanently based in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains where humanitarian aid is restricted. It is for this service that he received the Aurora Prize, granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, created on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors.
On June 5 Tom Catena, who is the only surgeon treating people in the Nuba Mountains, will arrive in the town of Sisian, in Armenia’s southern Zangezur region, where he will stop over in the Garrison hospital to meet fellow doctors. The meeting will be followed by a conversation with the local healthcare workers and other professionals at the Sisian House of Culture. The film Armenian Doctors in Nuba will also be screened there. The film depicts the activities of three Armenian doctors who went to Nuba to substitute for doctor Catena in May 2017, to allow him to visit Armenia and attend the Aurora Prize Weekend.
He will have an opportunity to enjoy the gems of Southern Armenia visiting Goris, Halidzor, Tatev Monastery complex and the “Tatever” ropeway. After the meeting with local community he will head to Artsakh, where he will meet with youth, students, representatives of local NGOs and the medical community as well as state officials.
During a similar visit last year, Doctor Catena said, “I’ve never been exposed to such hospitality in my life. I’m very touched by the people here. I feel like I’m with my own family when I come here. Everywhere I go, it’s the same reception. Really, you have something very special here. I want the Armenian people to know – you have something very special in this country. Don’t lose that.” Following this visit, he will return to Sudan and continue his work.