NEW YORK — The Aurora Prize committee has issued a statement pledging its support to World Humanitarian Day. The two share a common mission to honor and commemorate humanitarians who have put their lives at risk and to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work.
“Through the Aurora Prize, we share the spirit of World Humanitarian Day to honor those who have dedicated their lives to service and celebrate the impact of benevolent work around the world,” said Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of the Aurora Prize. “Today is an opportunity for all of us to pause and recognize the individuals whose brave acts have enabled others to survive.”
Ruben Vardanyan speaks from personal experience. His grandfather would not have survived the Armenian Genocide were he not saved by someone with the courage to risk his own life.
World Humanitarian Day is held each year on the anniversary of the August 19, 2003 suicide bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which took the lives of 22 aid workers. Among the victims was Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who served as UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and dedicated three decades of his life to forging peace and aiding refugees in the world’s most war-torn, devastated regions.
“The Aurora Prize aims to recognize the exceptional impact that individuals today have made on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes, having overcome significant challenges along the way,” said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Prize. “We encourage individuals and organizations to put forth nominations to identify the incredible humanitarian work of individuals that all too often goes unnoticed and unrecognized.”
Nominations for the Aurora Prize can be made until October 1, 2015.
The Aurora Prize is the philanthropic vision of Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, the co-founders of 100 LIVES, an initiative expressing gratitude to the individuals and institutions whose heroic actions saved Armenian lives during the Genocide 100 years ago. Actor George Clooney and writer Elie Wiesel are co-chairpersons of the prize, which will be presented annually on April 24 in Armenia..