The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a global award given annually to people who put themselves at risk to advance the well-being of others. Recipients of the Aurora Prize are recognized for the exceptional impact their actions have made 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 between 2015 and 2023 (in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) 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; former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York Vartan Gregorian; and Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney. The late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel served as the Selection Committee’s inaugural co-chair.
The inaugural Aurora Prize was presented to Marguerite Barankitse, the remarkable founder of the Maison Shalom orphanage and the REMA Hospital in Burundi. She was chosen for her unyielding dedication to helping others in times of darkness and despair. After watching 72 of her friends and neighbors killed in front of her during Burundian civil war, Marguerite took their children in and offered them shelter during the violence. She grew Maison Shalom into a center to restore children’s dignity through civil war and an HIV/AIDS epidemic that left many orphaned. After fighting on behalf of human rights in Burundi, she was exiled from her home country, though she has continued her work advancing aid and rehabilitation for child refugees and orphans from Rwanda and other neighboring countries.