Taking into consideration the scale of Aurora’s relief program, a decision has been made to bring onboard a local expert with relevant background, and Narine Aghabalyan, former Minister of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Artsakh, has joined the Aurora team to lead the project. In the meantime, Aurora keeps accepting proposals from organizations in need of assistance on the ground – they are invited to submit their applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It is very important that Aurora is able to help people in need in different corners of the world, as well as to direct large-scale programs to Artsakh in 2020․ Aurora has already supported around 50 projects focused on immediate needs of locals, impacting thousands of Artsakh people. We are very glad to welcome Narine to the team and are certain that her expertise will allow the program to reach new heights,” said Arman Jilavian, Board Member of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
In the aftermath of the war, Aurora has been providing direct aid to the people of Artsakh on the basis of the #AraratChallenge crowdfunding initiative and has already allocated $473,000 to the program. Together with partner organizations, the #AraratChallenge helps 48 projects focused on providing essentials to displaced people and restoring civil infrastructure in Artsakh through financial support, as well as by connecting volunteers willing to donate their time and expertise with humanitarian organizations in need of assistance on the ground.
Over the years, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Co-Founders, Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan and organizations founded by them have been involved in numerous programs in Artsakh. In addition, starting with Marguerite Barankitse, the recipient of the inaugural Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Prize Laureates have been visiting Artsakh annually, promoting its internationally.
“Overcoming the consequences of the autumn war of 2020 in Artsakh is a challenge for every Armenian. Aurora can unite us all and help us meet it. United, we can do so much more than what we think we’re capable of,” said Narine Aghabalyan. An Artsakh native born in 1967 in Stepanakert, she held offices within the Government of the Republic of Artsakh in 2009–2020. For more than 8 years, Narine Aghabalyan had been the Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs, and later occupied the position of the Minister of Education, Science and Sports before joining the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.
In her new position as Head of Artsakh program, Narine Aghabalyan will oversee the implementation of the projects in the region supported by Aurora, as well as the development of a humanitarian platform to connect all stakeholders under the auspices of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and enforce the centralized coordination of major Artsakh-related efforts and funding.