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New $1m global humanitarian award for individuals whose bravery saves others

Howard Lake | 8 July 2015 | News

The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a new $1 million humanitarian award given to an individual or group of people who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive. Its selection committee will be chaired by actor George Clooney and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Nominations for the Aurora Prize are open from July to October 2015 for individuals who “have overcome great personal challenges to make an exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes”.
The Aurora Prize has been established by Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, the co-founders of 100 LIVES, an initiative that expresses gratitude to the individuals and institutions “whose heroic actions saved Armenian lives during the Genocide 100 years ago”. It aims to share the remarkable stories of the “saviours and suvivors and celebrate the strength of the human spirit”. In addition, they hope to “build a humanitarian movement by drawing attention to the issues faced by the world’s most vulnerable and reward individuals and organisations that work to address those issues in a substantial and consequential manner”.
Aurora Prize Co-Founder, Ruben Vardanyan, an Armenia-born philanthropist, said:

“We are calling for nominations of lesser known yet inspirational stories of courage and intervention. We want to honor those who risk their own safety because of a heightened sense of humanity and responsibility and support life-saving causes in a tangible way.”

$1 million to charity

The winner will receive a personal $100,000 award, as well as a $1,000,000 grant to be donated to a charitable organization that inspired their work.
Nominations are welcomed from the broad range of sectors in the non-profit field, including economic development, public health, law, government and education.
Aurora Prize Co-Chair Elie Wiesel said:


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“What distinguishes this Prize from others is the legacy this award will create through investing in the organisations that inspire acts of humanity.”

George Clooney will present the inaugural Aurora Prize to the winning recipient during a ceremony to be held on 24 April 2016 in Yerevan, Armenia. Thereafter it will be awarded annually on that date in Yerevan.

(l-r) Noubar Afeyan, George Clooney, Ruben Vardanyan and Vartan Gregorian

100 LIVES co-founders Noubar Afeyan, Ruben Vardanyan and Vartan Gregorian stand with Aurora Prize Selection Committee Co-Chair George Clooney at the March launch event pledge wall.

The other members of the selection committee  are Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former Australian Foreign Minister and President and CEO of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian.
Why ‘Aurora Prize’? 100 LIVES explains about the woman who inspired the prize.
The closing date for nominations to the inaugural Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is 1 October 2015.