Nominations are now open for the 2019 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a global humanitarian award presented by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative recognizing those who change and save lives, often at risk to themselves. The Aurora Prize is granted on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors.
Nominations are open to the public and can be made for candidates who have put their life, health, freedom, reputation or livelihood at risk to preserve human life. After being submitted through the online portal, nominations are reviewed by an esteemed Expert Panel, and the Aurora Humanitarians and ultimate Aurora Prize Laureate are chosen by the Prize Selection Committee.
The Committee is chaired by actor and philanthropist George Clooney and 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; Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, Lord Ara Darzi; former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power; and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and former French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner.
A description of the Aurora Prize criteria and selection process can be found on the Prize website. Nominations for the 2019 Aurora Prize will close on September 7, 2018.
Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, reflected on the third year of the Prize: “Kuaw Hla Aung was chosen as the 2018 Aurora Laureate from among 750 nominations which were received this year. It is profoundly gratifying to be able to identify and support the very special and meaningful work being done by a few. They are true heroes. We look forward to identifying more humanitarians, as the nominations process opens and we begin our search for the 2019 Laureate.”
Each year, the Aurora Prize chooses one Laureate, who receives a $100,000 grant to continue their work, 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.
The Aurora Prize has expanded the impact of the work of the 2016 and 2017 Aurora Prize laureates by supporting the six organizations they had designated across Africa and South America. These organizations combat child poverty, advance aid for refugees and orphans, and provide educational, psychological and medical support to victims of war, HIV/AIDs-affected children and victims of sexual violence. This impact is driven by a range of initiatives funded by the Prize, including microcredit programs, scholarships, primary, secondary and vocational education, the provision of medical supplies, and more. Over the past two years, the organizations nominated by the Aurora Prize Laureates have supported at least 54 victims of sexual violence, 1,168 refugees, 1,148 young people and 813 children and have directly offered health care to more than 82,867 people in poverty and war-stricken areas.
Reflecting on the impact that the Aurora Prize has had on her work and community, Marguerite Barankitse, the inaugural 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate said, “The Aurora Prize awarded me for my work with Maison Shalom, and helped me continue to offer love and hope to young refugee children, more than half of whom are young girls, and transform them into tomorrow’s leaders. At Maison Shalom, over two decades, we have taken in more than 30,000 war or AIDS orphans, street children and children of poverty-stricken parents. Thanks to Aurora, our children know that people all the way from Armenia care about their futures and value their dreams.”
“The Aurora Prize’s impact transcends borders, cultures and ideologies. Our Laureate’s unique ability to continue the cycle of giving is an expression of a truly global movement, in which we have transformed our gratitude to those who saved our grandparents, into meaningful action that benefits some of society’s most vulnerable people today,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “Countless survivors around the world who owe their chance at life to the generosity of others can best acknowledge such benevolence by taking similar action. We look forward to continuing to honor such generosity.”
In its third year, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity received 750 submissions for 509 unique candidates from over 115 countries. Over the past three years, over 1,494 nominations have been made for 876 unique candidates.
The nominations period for the 2019 Aurora Prize is now open and will close on September 7, 2018 at 11:59 PM (EDT).