Nominations are open for the 2018 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a global humanitarian award granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The Aurora Prize is seeking the stories of selfless individuals who demonstrate exceptional courage, commitment and impact at personal risk for the sake of others.
Anyone can nominate a candidate who they believe has risked their life, health, freedom, reputation or livelihood to make an exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes. A description of the Prize criteria and selection process can be found here. Nominations for the 2018 Aurora Prize will close on September 8, 2017.
The call-to-nominate comes one day after the 2017 Aurora Prize was presented to Dr. Tom Catena at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday, 28 May. Dr. Catena was presented with the Prize by world-renown poet, singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour, in the presence of the esteemed members of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, including Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee, 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 and President of Carnegie Corporation of New York and Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Vartan Gregorian.
Vartan Gregorian, also a Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee said: “When we founded the Aurora Prize, it was our intention to build a movement that recognizes the work of those selfless people around the world who are offering live and hope to those in urgent need, and to inspire a cycle of giving that transforms the saved into saviors. Over the last two years we have received more than 700 nominations recognizing humanitarian actions taking place in communities all around the world. As we begin the search for the 2018 Aurora Prize Laureate, we look forward to uncovering and recognizing the other extraordinary stories of resilience and courage, of thoughtful individuals transforming gratitude to action.”
Each year the Aurora Prize will honor a Laureate who will received a $100,000 grant, as well as the unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by nominating organizations that inspired their work to receive a $1,000,000 award.
2017 Aurora Prize Laureate Dr. Catena selected the African Mission Healthcare Foundation (USA), the Catholic Medical Mission Board (USA), and Aktion Canchanabury (Germany) as the beneficiaries of the $1 million award.
Reflecting on the Award, Dr. Catena said: “Through the Aurora Prize, I have the opportunity to bring attention to the crisis of war, famine and food shortage that is still happening in the mountains of Sudan. I hope to shed light on the conflict there, and show the positive impact that we all can make.”
Speaking about the impact of the Aurora Prize on her work, the inaugural Aurora Prize Laureate, Marguerite Barankitse, who recieved the Prize in 2016 said, “The Aurora Prize has restored the lives of so many, and given the people of Burundi dignity and hope. It has shown how we can come together as one humanity to build a better future. Through the award funding, the Prize has given children and young people the only weapons they’ll ever need to change the world: education and love and is teaching people around the world that together we can turn the page and build a new vision for humanity.”
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was established in 2015 by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, the Aurora Prize will honor an Aurora Laureate each year until 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide (1915 – 1923).