The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity27 April 2016 / by Anahit Vardanyan (author)
On April 24th, the "Aurora" award was held in Yerevan. The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a new global award that will be given annually to individuals who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive. It aims to once again raise awareness about the atrocities that occur around the world and to acknowledge the contributions of humanitarians who work in this field.
The Aurora Prize was created by the co-founders of 100 LIVES, a pioneering global initiative seeking to express gratitude to those who put themselves at risk to save Armenians from the Genocide one hundred years ago.
The first Aurora Prize Laureate was Marguerite Barankitse from Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in Burundi. She was recognized for the extraordinary impact she had in saving thousands of lives and caring for orphans and refugees during the years of civil war in Burundi. In 2008, she opened a hospital which has treated more than 80,000 patients to date.
As the first Aurora Prize Laureate, Marguerite Barankitse will receive a $100,000 grant and continue the cycle of giving by donating the accompanying $1,000,000 award to organizations that have inspired her work. Barankitse plans to donate the award to three organizations in order to advance aid and rehabilitation for child refugees and orphans, and fight against child poverty.
Also, during the inaugural ceremony in Yerevan, The International Center for Journalists awarded Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times with its Integrity in Journalism Award. She received the award for her exceptional contribution to exposing crimes against humanity.
Rukmini Callimachi has exposed the horrific institutionalization of sex slavery by ISIS, linked child labor in gold mines in Senegal to banks in Switzerland, and revealed massacres committed by government forces from the Ivory Coast to Mali.
The selection of the finalists and the Aurora Prize Laureate was made by the independent Aurora Prize selection committee, including Nobel Laureates Elie Wiesel, Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee, human rights activist Hina Jilani, Gareth Evans, Vartan Gregorian and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney.
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity will be awarded annually on April 24 in Yerevan, Armenia.