NEW YORK — 100 LIVES and Not On Our Watch (NOOW) have formed a strategic partnership to increase awareness and combat genocide and human rights violations around the world.
The agreement will see cooperation and reciprocal support across projects, research, operations and the development of joint fundraising projects.
The two organisations will initially work together around the development and launch of The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, beginning with Not On Our Watch’s direct involvement in the Prize for its first award in April 2016.
The 100 LIVES initiative was founded by international businessmen and philanthropists Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan and humanitarian Vartan Gregorian to demonstrate the impact of the Armenian Genocide and how many of the survivors and their families went on to lead successful lives making significant contributions to global culture, the arts, sports, science and business.
Not On Our Watch, is an organization founded by George Clooney and other celebrities – including Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt – that seeks to prevent mass atrocities. Its principal undertaking in the past few years has been to document, through satellite imagery, evidence of possible atrocities in parts of Africa; the effort is known as the Satellite Sentinel Project.
In a statement, Mr. Clooney said his group shared a common goal with the Armenian sponsors, “to focus global attention on the impact of genocide as well as putting resources toward ending mass atrocities around the world.”
Ruben Vardanyan said: “We are excited to join forces with Not On Our Watch in this strategic partnership to advance our common goals which are directly aligned. The Aurora Prize will raise awareness on the selfless work of humanitarians and our partnership with Not On Our Watch will ensure we develop the full potential of the Aurora Prize to make it as effective as possible.”
Along with honoring past survivors and saviors, the program will establish the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity as a means to empower modern-day saviors. According to The New York Times, the annual grant of $1 million will be awarded to a recipient who will, in turn, present it to the organization identified as the inspiration for their action.
The Aurora Prize brings together leading human rights luminaries from around the world including Academy Award winner George Clooney, Nobel Peace Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Oscar Arias, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, UN Secretary-General Advisor on Genocide, Gareth Evans, globally respected human rights activist Hina Jilani and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Vartan Gregorian, to serve on its Selection Committee.
The Aurora Prize was named after Aurora Mardiganian who, as a child, was forced to witness the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, including losing her father and brothers. Against the odds she survived and went on to devote her life to providing humanitarian relief and raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide, including starring in a famous film called Ravished Armenia in 1919.
Mr. Clooney is to award the inaugural prize at a ceremony to be held in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, on April 24, 2016, the sponsors said in a statement.