About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative
Founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to empower modern-day saviors to offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid anywhere in the world and thus continue the cycle of giving internationally. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is Gratitude in Action. It is an eight-year commitment (2015 to 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) to support people and promote global projects that tackle the needs of the most helpless and destitute, and do so at great risk. This is achieved through the Initiative’s various programs: The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is the vision of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan who have been joined by more than 440 new supporters and partners. Our Chair, Dr. Tom Catena, draws on his experience is a surgeon, veteran, humanitarian and the 2017 Aurora Prize laureate to spread the message of Gratitude in Action to a global audience. The Initiative welcomes all who embrace a commitment to our shared humanity.
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is represented by three organizations – Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation, Inc. (New York, USA), the 100 Lives Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the IDeA Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia).
About the Aurora Movement
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is transforming the Armenian experience into a global movement committed to inspiring each of us to protect the humanity and life of our fellow man. With an illustrious Selection Committee of international dignitaries, Aurora’s programs reach every continent. Aurora partners with life-saving programs in more than a dozen countries on five continents. Aurora offers invaluable scholarship support to students from 9 countries. Aurora reaches humanitarians, civic leaders and persons of influence in various capitals in the world through the Aurora Dialogues on current issues critical to the future of humanity. Since the Aurora Prize launch in 2015, more than 2,200 nominations have been submitted from over 125 countries in more than 20 languages putting forward 1,399 candidates. Over the years, 14 Aurora Humanitarians have been selected.
About the Aurora Community of Supporters
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative was founded in 2015, by three people committed to honoring the memory of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide by supporting projects that honor their saviors. Since that time, more than 440 individuals and organizations have been inspired to join the founders in transforming a nation’s gratitude to action. We welcome all those who support this vision and join this movement. With growing resources, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will expand programming that tackles new crises and challenges, and offers life and hope to the vulnerable. Aurora will urge those fortunate enough to have been rescued and given a new chance on life to express their own gratitude by becoming the next generation of savior. Thus, the cycle of giving will continue, empathy will replace sympathy and in memory of the survivors, we will embrace all those who believe in a shared humanity.
About the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a global humanitarian award established to recognize modern day heroes and the exceptional impact their actions have made on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes in the face of adversity. On behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate is honored each year between 2015 and 2023 (in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) with a US $1,000,000 award which gives the Laureate a unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving and support the organizations that have inspired the humanitarian action.
The Aurora Prize Selection Committee includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former foreign minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; Médecins Sans Frontières co-founder and former foreign minister of France Bernard Kouchner; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power; human rights activist and Founding Director of Enough Project John Prendergast; Artistic and General Director of Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker Valery Gergiev; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian. The Committee is chaired by the Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London Lord Ara Darzi. World famous peace and human rights activist Benjamin Ferencz and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney are the Committee’s Honorary Co-Chairs.
About the Aurora Gratitude Projects
The Aurora Gratitude Projects are humanitarian and educational initiatives which help children, refugees and other vulnerable citizens around the world. Through these projects, the descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide seek to express thanks to the memory of those who helped save the victims of genocide, by providing educational initiatives and scholarships, grants to humanitarian projects and promoting public awareness of humanitarian efforts.
In cooperation with the Near East Foundation, 100 academic scholarships are given to at-risk youth from the Middle East who have been affected by conflict, displacement, and poverty. The scholarship program runs between 2015 and 2023 (in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) and will offer recipients an internationally recognized education within the United World College (UWC) network of schools, including in Armenia-based UWC Dilijan—a co-educational boarding school currently hosting students from over 82 countries. It has individual scholarships named after Lamya Haji Bashar (given to Yazidi students), Amal Clooney (given to a female student from Lebanon who demonstrates strong interest in human rights) and Charles Aznavour (awarded annually to students from France – and Francophone countries – to study at UWC Dilijan). In addition, in cooperation with Scholae Mundi Armenia, scholarships are granted to students from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt to study at the American University of Armenia. The scholarship program is valued at $7million.
About the Aurora Dialogues
The Aurora Dialogues is a platform for the world’s leading humanitarians, academics, philanthropists, business leaders, and civil society to come together for a series of insightful discussions about some of today’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. In keeping with the spirit of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues shines a light on the people who are working to address today’s atrocities in a real and substantial manner and seek to identify ideas that will deliver tangible change.
About the Aurora Humanitarian Index
The Aurora Humanitarian Index is a special survey that examines public perceptions of major humanitarian issues. It explores the international public’s attitudes toward both responsibility and effectiveness of humanitarian intervention, as well as the motivations that urge people to intervene on behalf of others.
The annual survey is conducted across multiple countries and its findings are presented each year during the Aurora Dialogues, an international platform for discussions among leading experts in the humanitarian community.
About the 100 LIVES Initiative
The 100 LIVES Initiative was launched in March 2015 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in which the overwhelming majority of the Armenian population perished. Those who survived did so thanks to the benevolent intervention of institutions and individuals – often strangers. In recognition of their humanity and courage, 100 LIVES seeks and shares the stories of Armenian Genocide survivors, their saviors and their descendants. Each story captures the unique transformation of each victim to a valuable contributor to society.