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Vartan Gregorian (1934 - 2021)

Vartan Gregorian (1934 - 2021)

Born in Tabriz, Iran, of Armenian parents, Dr. Gregorian received his elementary education in Iran and his secondary education in Lebanon. In 1956 he entered Stanford University, where he majored in history and the humanities, graduating with honors in 1958. He was awarded a PhD in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964. Dr. Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin.

In 1972 he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History and professor of South Asian history.

He was founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years later became its twenty-third provost until 1981.

Following an academic career spanning two decades, Dr. Gregorian served as President of The New York Public Library. He is widely credited with restoring the status of the library as a cultural landmark. In 1989 he was appointed president of Brown University. 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.

Dr. Gregorian is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Philosophical Society. In 1969, he received the Danforth Foundation’s E.H. Harbison Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition, he has received scores of honorary degrees and has been decorated by the French, Italian, Austrian, and Portuguese governments. He is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Medal of Freedom.

In 1997 – 2021, Dr. Gregorian served as the twelfth president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grant-making institution founded by Andrew Carnegie. In 2015, he co-founded the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. 

Dr. Vartan Gregorian passed away in April 2021.

THE AURORA PRIZE SELECTION COMMITTEE

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Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016)

First Co-Chair

President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate

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Lord Ara Darzi

Chair

Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London

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George Clooney

Honorary Co-Chair

Co-founder, The Sentry; Humanitarian, performer and film maker

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Benjamin Ferencz

Honorary Co-Chair

Lawyer, Human Rights Activist

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Shirin Ebadi

Member

Human Rights Lawyer and Iran's first female judge; Nobel Laureate

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Leymah Gbowee

Member

Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate; Nobel Laureate

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Vartan Gregorian (1934 - 2021)

Member

Co-founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York

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Hina Jilani

Member

Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders

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Bernard Kouchner

Member

Co-founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former French Foreign Minister

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Dele Olojede

Member

Journalist, Writer, Pulitzer Prize Winner

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Paul Polman

Member

Co-founder and Chair, IMAGINE

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John Prendergast

Member

Human Rights Activist and Co-founder, The Sentry

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Mary Robinson

Member

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Former President of Ireland

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Ernesto Zedillo

Member

Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; Former President of Mexico

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Oscar Arias

Honorary Member

Two-time President of Costa Rica; Nobel Laureate

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Valery Gergiev

Honorary Member

Artistic and General Director, Mariinsky Theatre; Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker

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Gareth Evans

Honorary Member

President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group; Former Australian Foreign Minister

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Elie Wiesel (1928 – 2016)

First Co-Chair

President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate

Read more

Lord Ara Darzi

Chair

Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London