Nominations For 2017 Aurora Prize For Awakening Humanity Are Now Closed

  • Society - 10 September 2016, 16:19
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced that nominations for the 2017 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity have now closed. 

This year’s nominations process – which spanned June 1 through September 9, 2016 – garnered 558 submissions for 254 unique candidates. Entries were received in 13 languages from 66 countries, most nominations were submitted by people from Armenia, the United States, Russia, Germany, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, France, Nepal, Kenia, India, Philippines and the Great Britain. 

Now in its second year, the Aurora Prize saw almost three times as many nominations as last year, when 186 nominations were submitted for 113 candidates in six languages and from 27 countries. 

“We are gratified to see so many deserving nominations from all corners of the world,” said Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and the Aurora Prize. “In only its second year, the vision that gave birth to the Aurora Prize is reinforced – that humanity can and should highlight and honor those who risk their own lives to save others. It is only because there are such people that Armenians, including my family, survived during the Genocide, and it is to express our gratitude as human beings, that we wish to share this Prize with those who look in the face of danger, and do the right thing.” 

The nominations will now be reviewed by a group of knowledgeable and practiced professionals, who will prepare a short list based on demonstrated courage, commitment and impact. The top 20 will then be given to the Selection Committee, which is currently chaired by actor and philanthropist George Clooney and includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group and Former Foreign Minister of Australia, Gareth Evans; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Vartan Gregorian; and former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani.

“Following the first year’s impressive turnout, this year’s high number of nominations is very promising,” said Vartan Gregorian, Co-Founder and Selection Committee member for the Prize. “We look forward to advancing the mission of the Aurora Prize as we continue to share with the world such inspiring stories as that of the 2016 laureate, Marguerite Barankitse.” 

Ms. Barankitse, the founder of Maison Shalom and the REMA Hospital in Burundi, was selected as the first-ever Aurora Prize Laureate. Per the terms of the Prize, she was honored with a $100,000 grant for her unyielding dedication to helping others in times of darkness and despair, as well as the ability to continue the cycle of giving by selecting the organizations that inspired her work to receive a $1,000,000 award. She chose three groups that advance aid and rehabilitation for child refugees and orphans and combat child poverty.

The 2017 Aurora Prize finalists will be publicly announced in February 2017 following the deliberations of the Selection Committee. This will be followed by a weekend of events in April 2017. To be held in Yerevan, Armenia, the weekend will honor the finalists, engage humanitarians in productive dialogue around the world’s most pressing issues, and announce the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate during a special ceremony.

For additional selection process details and announcements, please visit  

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About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is committed to building a broad, global humanitarian movement. The initiative is rooted in inspiring stories of courage and survival that emerged during the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians perished. Those fortunate few who survived were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of institutions and individuals who intervened, at great risk. A century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to express gratitude, share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, and celebrate the strength of the human spirit. 


The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative originates, includes and supports projects designed to raise public awareness and address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues. These projects include the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is an enterprise of the IDeA Foundation (Initiatives for Development of Armenia). 


About the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity


Recipients will be recognized for the exceptional impact of their actions on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes. On behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, an Aurora Prize Laureate will be honored each year with a US$100,000 grant as well as the unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by nominating organizations that inspired their work for a US$1,000,000 award.

The Aurora Prize Selection Committee 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; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney. 

The Aurora Prize will be awarded annually on April 24 in Yerevan, Armenia.