A US $1,000,000 award is given on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors in order to address on-the-ground humanitarian challenges around the world with the focus on helping the most destitute. The announcement was made in the Matenadaran, the national repository of ancient manuscripts located in Yerevan, Armenia. One of the Humanitarians will later be named the 2022 Aurora Prize Laureate.
“Such exceptional modern-day heroes remind us that even in the darkest times, a brighter future is in the hands of those who believe in it and are willing to do extraordinary things to protect it. Many of us may feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless tide of human sorrow and suffering we face today, but the Aurora Humanitarians remain beacons of compassion, guiding and inspiring humanity. It is an honor for me to be part of the Initiative that recognizes and supports them,” said Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee and Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.
The 2022 Aurora Humanitarians are:
- Jamila Afghani (Afghanistan), a peace activist and founder of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO) who has dedicated over 25 years of her life to giving the women of Afghanistan access to education. After the Taliban took over her country, Jamila Afghani was forced to flee her homeland – but she hasn’t given up on its people.
- Hadi Jumaan (Yemen), a peace activist, mediator, and body collector from Yemen who regularly risks his life to facilitate the exchange of prisoners of war and recover human remains from the frontlines. As the country continues to experience a prolonged political and humanitarian crisis caused by the civil war, Mr. Jumaan brings to the families the only solace left to them – the knowledge that their loved and lost ones may finally rest in peace.
- Mahienour El-Massry (Egypt), a lawyer and political activist from Egypt who promotes political freedoms and human rights in the country by organizing peaceful protests and defending political prisoners in courts. In Egypt, voicing disagreement with the official policy can be dangerous, and Mahienour El-Massry has been detained and put in jail several times for her activism. Nevertheless, she remains optimistic about the future of her country and committed to being an agent of positive change.
“As one of the Aurora Prize Laureates, I have witnessed the impact of support and recognition on the international level. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative gives activists and human rights defenders, often operating on their own, a way to promote and elevate their work so they can achieve even more. I would like to congratulate the 2022 Aurora Humanitarians and wish them all the best in their activities,” said 2021 Aurora Prize Laureate Julienne Lusenge, co-founder of Women's Solidarity for Inclusive Peace and Development (SOFEPADI) and Fund for Congolese Women (FFC).
Nominations for the 2022 Aurora Prize officially opened on April 24, 2021. A total of 633 submissions were received from 62 countries including Armenia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, USA, and Ukraine. The Aurora Prize Laureate is honored each year with a US $1,000,000 award that gives them a unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving and to support the organizations that help people in need.
“Every year, I’m in awe of the outstanding heroes that Aurora empowers and their work. They are dealing with immeasurable challenges in unimaginable circumstances where the odds are stacked high against them, and yet their humanity, their faith, their courage allows them to keep moving forward. It is my ardent hope that the world learns from them, as it would definitely make it a much better place,” noted 2017 Prize Laureate Dr. Tom Catena, Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Medical Director of the Mother Mercy Hospital in Sudan.
In accordance with the tradition, the names of the 2022 Aurora Humanitarians are inscribed in the Chronicles of Aurora, a unique 21st century manuscript containing the depictions of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative activities, and the tome will be displayed for the public in the Matenadaran.