The Aurora Dialogues allowed the distinguished humanitarian guests, who were in Armenia for the events marking the presentation of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, to exchange knowledge and views on the best ways to address these challenges. In keeping with the spirit of the Aurora Prize, the Aurora Dialogues looked to shine a light on the people who are working hard to address today’s atrocities in a real and substantial manner.

Discussions were made available via live stream in English, French, Russian and Armenian.

100 LIVES Co-Founder Ruben Vardanyan opened the Aurora Dialogues, welcoming guests and outlining the importance of the discussions.

The four primary Aurora Dialogues panel discussions focused on:

  • The Global State of Humanitarian Issues:The session opened with the findings of a specially commissioned survey, The Humanitarian Index. Conducted in six markets, the Humanitarian Index reveals public attitudes towards humanitarian issues, priorities and accountability. The panel then discussed topics informed by the research, including global perceptions on the refugee crisis, the responsibility to protect, support needs in the short- and medium-term, and long-term strategies for combatting humanitarian issues. Panel participants analyzed where global humanitarian “hot spots” are, and discussed what can be done to bring effective assistance to these areas.
  • Saving the World’s Refugees, Syria and Beyond: Gareth Evans, President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group and Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member, offered a keynote speech on the need to recognize the scale of the refugee issue. The distinguished panel then discussed the root causes of forced migration, assessed what can be learned from history, and analyzed the ways in which the humanitarian community can work in collaboration with institutions to address these issues.
  • The Role of Women in the International Humanitarian Community: Led by Former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations, Nancy Soderberg, the panel brought together a group of exceptional women with diverse expertise in the international humanitarian community. The session assessed women’s contribution to humanitarian discourse and the roles they can play in acting as agents for social change.
  • Shining a Light on the Crisis (The Role of Media in the International Community): Led by journalist Ted Koppel, the panel discussed the important role of media in covering humanitarian crises, reporting ‘back home’, and bringing events to a wider audience. Participants exchanged views on the role played by media in raising awareness of humanitarian issues, shaping public opinion, highlighting the need for urgent response, and driving efforts to confront bad actors. Discussion also looked into the evolving media landscape, and the role of social media and the 24-hour news-cycle in the media’s ability to raise awareness of humanitarian crises.

100 LIVES Co-Founder and Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member Vartan Gregorian closed the Aurora Dialogues with remarks. 

The Yerevan 2016 Aurora Dialogues were hosted at the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (the Matenadaran). Home to one of the world’s richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books spanning subjects from history and philosophy to medicine

The Matenadaran was specifically chosen as the home of the inaugural Aurora Dialogues in honor of the past, present and future of intellectual discourse and debate - a location that encourages us to reflect on the foundations of humanitarian thought, and look to the future together.   

Participants at the Aurora Dialogues include:

  • Marguerite Barankitse, Founder, Maison Shalom; Aurora Prize Finalist
  • Joyce Barnathan, President, International Center for Journalists
  • Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Lawyer and Iran’s first female judge; Nobel Laureate; Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member
  • Enrique Eguren, President, Protection International
  • Gareth Evans, President Emeritus, International Crisis Group; Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member
  • Dr. Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and women’s right advocate; Nobel Laureate; Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member
  • Syeda Ghulam Fatima, General Secretary, Bonded Labour Liberation Front; Aurora Prize Finalist
  • David Ignatius, Author; Columnist, The Washington Post
  • Hina Jilani, Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; Aurora Prize Selection Committee Member
  • Ted Koppel, Former ABC anchor
  • Dr. Josephine Kulea, Founder and Executive Director, Samburu Girls Foundation
  • Stephen Kurkjian, Author;former Washington bureau chief and founding member of the investigative Spotlight Team for The Boston Globe
  • Dr. Edward Luck, Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs; Director, Specialization in International Conflict Resolution, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Dr. Steven Luckert, Senior Program Curator, Levine Institute for Holocaust Education, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundation
  • David Tolbert, President, International Center for Transitional Justice
  • Nancy Soderberg, Former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Gillian Sorensen, Board Member, International Rescue Committee; Senior Advisor, United Nations Foundation

Follow the Aurora Dialogues and featured events on Twitter by searching #AuroraPrize and #AuroraDialogues.