Modern-Day Heroes from Bahrain, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iran Shortlisted for the 2024 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity
Award will be Announced in Los Angeles, California in May 2024
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative today announced the three Aurora Humanitarians who have been shortlisted for the 2024 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. The announcement was made at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York City. One of the 2024 Aurora Humanitarians will be named the next Aurora Prize Laureate at a Ceremony to take place in Los Angeles, California in May 2024. The 2024 Aurora Prize Laureate will receive a US $1,000,000 award together with a unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by helping people in need.
“We are delighted to announce the three exceptional individuals whom we have selected as the 2024 Aurora Humanitarians. They come from diverse backgrounds but are united by their commitment to serving humanity. They have each shown extraordinary courage and commitment in helping others in dangerous situations without regard to their own safety and well-being,” said Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. “By their actions they have demonstrated for the world to see what it means to be a humanitarian.”
The 2024 Aurora Humanitarians are:
- Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja (Bahrain/Denmark), a human rights advocate who has been fearlessly defending the most vulnerable communities in Bahrain, especially those who have been subject to systemic violations of their human rights. Mr. Al-Khawaja has been arrested several times for this work, including in 2011, for peaceful protests during the Bahraini Uprising, which resulted in him being sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal.
- Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of the Congo), a gynecologist and human rights activist who has been working since 1999 to provide medical, legal, and psychosocial aid to women subjected to sexualized and gender-based violence and to advocate for gender equality and the elimination of rape as a weapon of war in the DRC and worldwide. Dr. Mukwege has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Nasrin Sotoudeh (Iran), a human rights defender who has been working as an attorney since 2003, representing Iranian opposition activists, young prisoners, and women’s rights activists, including women who were arrested for protesting compulsory headscarves (hijab) in Iran. Due to her work, Mrs. Sotoudeh has been frequently imprisoned, including in solitary confinement.
“With more than 700 submissions this year, the Aurora Prize Selection Committee had the difficult task of narrowing a long list of extraordinary individuals to three,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. “These three outstanding Humanitarians are undaunted in their efforts to help others in the face of unimaginable circumstances, and we are honored to raise awareness of their work and impact.”
The nomination period for the Aurora Humanitarian Prize ran from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023, bringing 732 submissions for 675 unique candidates in total. The applications for the 2024 Aurora Prize hailed from 75 countries including USA, Kenya, Armenia, Nigeria, Germany, Pakistan, Canada, India, UK, Czech Republic, Georgia, and Iran.
“We have an astonishing need for humanitarian assistance in all corners of the world, and each of the individuals recognized by Aurora is making a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most and serves as an inspiration to us all,” said Dame Louise Richardson, Aurora Prize Selection Committee member and President of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is the flagship program of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to all those who helped them. This global humanitarian award recognizes and supports the world’s unsung heroes who risk their lives to help those suffering from humanitarian crises and human rights violations. To date, the Initiative has benefited over 2.7 million people affected by war, conflict, displacement, persecution, and other issues worldwide.