The Aurora Forum’s agenda featured more than fifty events, ranging from festivals and exhibitions to conferences and symposiums. More than 500 leaders and experts, along with more than 150 speakers from across the globe participated in insightful discussions and presentations on innovation, ecology, arts, education, humanitarian aid and tourism. Thousands of locals also joined the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative at Freedom Square to celebrate the fourth Laureate of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, Yazidi activist and Co-Founder of Luftbrücke Irak, Mirza Dinnayi. The Aurora Tribute and Fundraising Concert, held on October 20, featured a special program by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. The main events of the Aurora Forum were attended by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, his wife Anna Hakobyan, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, President of the Speakers’ House Ararat Mirzoyan, members of the Selection Committee and all Aurora Prize Laureates.
“As descendants of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide, we honor the memory of their saviors who risk their lives to give a second chance to those fleeing atrocities. But memory is most effective when it brings action, continuing a virtuous cycle that begets positive change, what we call gratitude-in-action,” said Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Noubar Afeyan. “Our goal with the Aurora Forum was to bring people from all over the world to Armenia to share experiences and envision better versions of the world together. I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved.”
Several key events honoring saviors and survivors of the Armenian Genocide took place during the Aurora Forum, including a tree planting ceremony in Tsitsernakaberd organized in partnership with the Armenia Tree Project. The new grove of trees was named after Aurora Mardiganian, an Armenian Genocide survivor and the inspiration behind the Aurora Prize.
“These have been a fantastic few days honoring those who have opened their hearts to others. The Aurora Forum, the #AraratChallenge Fest and especially the 2019 Aurora Prize Ceremony have engaged people who strive to bring positive change to the world we all share. And since generosity has no expiration date, this cycle of giving, which Aurora began, will continue – supported by thousands more across the globe,” said Vartan Gregorian, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
One of the greatest highlights of the Forum was the inaugural #AraratChallenge Fest, which gathered thousands of locals and visitors at Freedom Square to participate in timely discussions and workshops, designed to showcase Armenia’s progress in education, humanitarianism, technology, cultural and social development. Another event, The Impact Humanity Television and Film Festival, featured TV projects and films that educate and inform, helping prevent crimes against humanity around the world.
In line with the unprecedented growth experienced by the IT and technology industries in Armenia the Global Innovation Forum and the Conference on Issues of Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles offered insightful debates on the future of scientific and technological transformation.
“Thanks to Aurora Forum, we were able to show the uniqueness of Armenia to people from all over the world. Our goal was for people to engage and learn how the simplest acts of kindness are impactful and meaningful in resolving some of the world’s most pressing issues. We believe humanity needs cooperation, and the Forum is a great example of how, together, individuals can join forces for the greater good. For us, this is the very definition of success,” noted Ruben Vardanyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
In Dilijan, the annual Aurora Dialogues presented the Humanitarianism in Education Conference, showcasing the youngest generation of socially responsible individuals and presenting the Young Aurora finalists’ projects. Meanwhile, the European Cultural Parliament Symposium provided a platform for discussions and debate on crucial issues of European cooperation and culture.
Finally, as this year marks the fifth anniversary of UWC Dilijan College, the campus celebration brought together the local community and guests alike. The UWC educational experience is based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding, and empowers its students to act as champions of peace.
The Aurora Forum was powered by partner institutions with a shared vision: FAST, Scholae Mundi Global Educational Platform, United World College Dilijan, IDeA Foundation, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Ameriabank.