2021 Aurora Prize Ceremony to Take Place in Venice.The ceremony and the accompanying weekend of activities will be held on October 8-10.
July 15, 2021 – Yerevan, Armenia – The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced that the 2021 Aurora Prize events will take place in Venice, Italy, on October 8-10, 2021. In addition to the Ceremony, during which the 2021 Aurora Prize Laureate will be named and the Aurora Dialogues, there will be ample opportunities for the guests and participants, including members of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Aurora Humanitarians, and other representatives of Aurora’s community, to explore the rich Armenian legacy of this location.
The 2021 Aurora events in Venice will mark the first time the Aurora Prize Ceremony takes place in Europe and will highlight the extensive connection between this universally important cultural site and the spirit of Aurora, with its deeply embedded respect for the human life shared by every Armenian and every member of Aurora global movement alike. It will also be the first offline Aurora Prize Ceremony since the breakout of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 19, 2020, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative marked its 5th anniversary at a virtual fundraising event in New York City, dedicated to Aurora’s core philosophy of Gratitude in Action. Broadcast live from The New York Public Library, the event featured Aurora Co-Founder and member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee Vartan Gregorian, who sadly passed away in April 2021.
“The 2021 Aurora Prize main events in Venice are intended to give a chance for our guests to come together for the first time since we were forced to bring all our events online. The last year and a half has been hard on everyone, and we’ve suffered many a painful loss. That is why we are very excited about the opportunity to express gratitude to our wonderful community, to bring global humanitarians to Venice and to introduce them to the Armenian legacy of this location and to its rich and fascinating history,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
The first Armenian communities were established in the region centuries ago, and the history of their successful development and integration echoes the complex and compound identity defining the modern Armenian people and their global impact. No matter where they were born, from Yerevan to Los Angeles, from Beirut to Moscow, all Armenians possess an acute understanding of the importance of kindness, humanity, and gratitude, strongly reflected in Aurora’s vision.
“The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is transforming the Armenian experience into a global movement based on the philosophy of Gratitude in Action, and we are very happy to have the 2021 Aurora Prize Ceremony in Venice, one of the most important Armenian heritage sites, and to highlight our presence in Europe after the success of last year’s US event. Aurora continues to successfully enhance the humanitarian angle, and we can’t wait to share this special moment of celebrating modern-day heroes and the work they do with members of Aurora’s community,” said Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
In the meantime, nominations are still open for the 2022 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. Until October 31, 2021, any person can submit a nomination for candidates they believe have overcome great personal challenges to help others.
About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is a foundation that seeks to address on-the-ground humanitarian challenges around the world with the focus on helping the most destitute. Its mission is rooted in the Armenian history as the Initiative was founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors and strives to transform this experience into a global movement.
All Aurora’s activities are based on the universal concept of Gratitude in Action. It implies that countless people around the world who have received aid in time of crisis can best express their gratitude by offering similar assistance to someone else. By involving Aurora supporters around the world, this will become a global endeavor that will snowball to expand the circle of saviors and most importantly – the number of those saved.
Addressing urgent humanitarian challenges, the Initiative provides a second chance to those who need it the most. True to its vision – “We believe that even in the darkest times, a brighter future is in the hands of those who are committed to giving others help and hope” – Aurora welcomes all who embrace this philosophy.
This eight-year commitment (2015 to 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) aims to promote action-based philanthropy focused on tangible results. This is achieved through the Initiative’s various programs: Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, Aurora for Artsakh, #AraratChallenge movement, Aurora Dialogues, Aurora Grants, Aurora Community, Aurora Index, and the 100 LIVES Initiative.
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is the vision of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan who have been joined by thousands of supporters and partners. Aurora’s Chair, Dr. Tom Catena, draws on his experience as a surgeon, veteran, humanitarian and the 2017 Aurora Prize laureate to spread the message of Gratitude in Action to a global audience.
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is represented by three organizations – the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation, Inc. (New York, USA), the 100 Lives Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Charitable Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia).
About the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a global humanitarian award. Its mission is to recognize and support those who risk their own lives, health or freedom to save the lives, health or freedom of others suffering as a result of violent conflict, atrocity crimes or other major human rights violations. The Aurora Prize Laureate is selected based on the nominee’s demonstration of courage, commitment and impact.
On behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate is honored each year between 2015 and 2023 (in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) with a US $1,000,000 award, which gives the Laureate a unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving and to support the organizations that have inspired their humanitarian action.
The Aurora Prize Selection Committee is comprised of Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; Médecins Sans Frontières Co-founder and former foreign minister of France Bernard Kouchner; former CEO of Unilever and Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE Paul Polman; human rights activist and Co-founder of The Sentry John Prendergast and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian (1934-2021). The Committee is chaired by the Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London Lord Ara Darzi.
World famous peace and human rights activist Benjamin Ferencz and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney are the Committee’s Honorary Co-Chairs, and its honorary members include two-time President of Costa Rica and Nobel Laureate Oscar Arias; Artistic and General Director of Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker Valery Gergiev and former foreign minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans.
We honor the memory of Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), inaugural Selection Committee Co-Chair, President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate.