“The number of submissions we have received for the 2021 Aurora Prize is proof once again, that given all the many global challenges we face, people continue to be inspired to nominate unsung heroes doing vital humanitarian work across the world. Alongside my fellow members of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, we will seek to identify those who have demonstrated exceptional courage, commitment and impact,” said Lord Ara Darzi, Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London and Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. “This is not a straight-forward task, but one that is a great privilege, especially given the events of the past year, where our outstanding selection of humanitarians include many fighting the global outbreak of COVID-19, who continue to go to extreme lengths to benefit the lives of others.”

The opening of the nomination period for the 2021 Aurora Prize was announced on April 24, 2020, the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, during a special online discussion dedicated to honoring those who perished a century ago and celebrating modern heroes. Since then, a total of 637 submissions have been received for the 2021 Aurora Prize, hailing from 73 countries and territories including the USA, Czech Republic, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Armenia, India, Georgia, United Kingdom and DR Congo.

On October 19, 2020, despite the challenges caused by the global pandemic and the heartbreaking military aggression in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the first event of Aurora’s “Gratitude in Action” anniversary series took place in New York City, honoring the Aurora Prize Laureates and Humanitarians and the Initiative’s 5th anniversary. The series, planned to conclude in the spring of 2021, is set to raise funds from international contributors in order to increase the impact and reach of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and help continue the efforts of the Aurora Prize Laureates and the community of unsung heroes to save the vulnerable.

 The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founders Noubar Afeyan, Vartan Gregorian and Ruben Vardanyan personally donated $1 million to the Hayastan All Armenian Fund. In addition, together with UWC Dilijan school in Armenia, a $1 million special fund was established for initiatives focused on education and well-being of children affected by the war. Friends and supporters of Aurora and UWC Dilijan can join the efforts by making donations via the websites of UWC DilijanAurora Humanitarian Initiative and #AraratChallenge Movement or can make a direct donation to Hayastan All Armenian Fund

The names of the 2021 Aurora Humanitarians will be revealed on April 24, 2021, followed by the announcement of the the 2021 Aurora Prize Laureate later next year.