The Founders

The Aurora Prize is the philanthropic vision of Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan. Together they seek to build a broad, global humanitarian movement.

The Initiative creates and supports projects designed to raise public awareness and address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues. These projects include the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative.


Vartan Gregorian is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Following an admirable academic career spanning two decades, Gregorian served as the President of the New York Public Library. He is widely credited with restoring the status of the library as a cultural landmark. 

Vartan Gregorian was President of Brown University between 1989 and 1997. During his tenure, he led a campaign that raised over $500 million, bringing the institution’s endowment past the $1 billion mark. In addition, some 250 general studies courses were established during his time as President. 

In 2004, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him to serve on the President's Commission on White House Fellowships. Vartan Gregorian is also a Selection Committee Member for the Aurora Prize. 


Dr. Noubar Afeyan is Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. During his 25-year career as inventor, entrepreneur, CEO and venture capitalist, Dr. Afeyan has co-founded and helped to build nearly 30 successful start-ups. 

Dr. Afeyan serves on a number of public and private company and organization boards, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, UWC Dilijan College in Armenia, and an organization promoting economic development in Armenia. A true academic, Noubar is a Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He has authored numerous scientific publications and patents and lectures widely in the United States and globally.


Ruben Vardanyan is an impact investor and social entrepreneur, co-founder and Chairman of RVVZ Foundation. Previously, he served as CEO and Chairman of Troika Dialog, one of the oldest and largest investment banks in Russia and the CIS, before the merger with Sberbank in January 2012.  

Mr. Vardanyan is a Board Member at numerous entities in Russia and abroad, including universities and business schools in Japan, Brazil and Russia. He is a founding partner of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO and Vice-Chairman of SKOLKOVO International Advisory Board.  

An active philanthropist in both Russia and Armenia, Mr. Vardanyan is engaged in a number of development projects and is leading several initiatives aimed at advancing Armenia, including helping to open UWC Dilijan College, a world-class educational institution in Armenia. He has received numerous awards and honors and has been recognized for his leadership and reputation within the financial community. 

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