The organizers noted that when they had begun planning the event, nobody could have imagined that a war would be unleashed against Nagorno-Karabakh, but they had decided not to cancel or postpone the plans as it is in times of adversity that the voice of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity should be heard the loudest.

The event, focused on the philosophy of Gratitude in Action, was broadcast live from The New York Public Library and featured Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founder, member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Vartan Gregorian, as well as the evening’s hosts, well-known American journalists Judy Woodruff (PBS) and David Ignatius (The Washington Post).

At the same time the rest of the participants, including Aurora Co-Founders Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, Chair and members of the esteemed Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Aurora Laureates and famous representatives of cultural establishment like George Clooney, Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis, as well as more than 500 invitees, joined the event remotely. However, from the very first minutes of the event and throughout its course (for 1h 40m) the risk of disruption remained high due to series of cyber attacks and an influx of thousands of bots trying to block the broadcast and spreading fake URLs of the broadcast and ultranationalist anti-Armenian slurs in the social media. 

Several substantial grants, presented by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in 2020, were announced during the “Gratitude in Action” event, including $1 million to 2020 Aurora Prize Laureates Fartuun Adan and Ilwad Elman who help women and children in Somalia; $1 million from the Co-Founders personally to Hayastan All Armenian Fund to cover urgent humanitarian needs in Nagorno-Karabakh; $1 million to support the children affected by war; $100,000 to the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens help in its struggle against the virus, and $20,000 the Committee to Protect Journalists.

It should be noted as well that this year, the global Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has also transferred $200,000 to support those affected by the blast in Beirut, $140,000 to the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Nuba Mountains, Sudan, and $120,000 to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia to help it fight against the pandemic of COVID-19.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative was founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is awarded annually to modern-day heroes who put themselves at risk to save others. You can watch the full-length version of the “Gratitude in Action” event by following this link.