The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity


The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is a new global award that will be given annually to people who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive and thrive. Recipients will be recognized for the exceptional impact their actions have made to preserving human life or advancing humanitarian causes, despite the challenges that they have overcome.

A grant of U.S. $1 million will be given to the organization that the recipient identifies as the inspiration for his or her actions. In this way, the Aurora Prize will make a tangible difference to the causes that motivate people to risk their health, liberty, reputation, or livelihood by voluntarily carrying out acts that enable others to survive.

The Aurora Prize has been developed as part of 100 LIVES, an international humanitarian project rooted in the events of the Armenian Genocide. This year marks the centenary of the Genocide where an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed. In spite of this tragedy, approximately 500,000 survived and found shelter abroad, many with the help of strangers. 100 LIVES is a global effort to pay tribute to and thank the individuals and institutions whose actions saved lives a century ago. 

<p>Awarded annually to people who put themselves at risk to make an outstanding contribution to humanitarian causes.</p>
Our timeline

Below is an outline of the process and a reminder of the key dates you need to be aware of


The Aurora Prize Selection Committee is comprised of Nobel Laureates, former presidents, prominent political figures, highly respected humanitarians and well-known human rights activists dedicated to recognizing modern-day heroes and the exceptional impact their actions have made on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes in the face of adversity. Every year, members of the Selection Committee review a shortlist of candidates and select the Aurora Humanitarians to later name one of them the Aurora Prize Laureate.


We want to shine a light on people who faced adversity, put themselves on the line and still made a difference through a single act of valor or a long-term campaign.

Compassionate. Courageous. Determined. Risking everything for what they believe in, the winner of the Aurora Prize will be exceptional in every way.

And we’d like you to help us find them…

How our nomination process works

We invite you to nominate any person or group that you believe has gone above and beyond in helping others. It can be someone you know personally or just someone you admire. If eligible, your nominee will be contacted by the 100 LIVES team.

These nominations will then be assessed by a dedicated Secretariat comprised of experts in the field and overseen by independent auditors. A shortlist will then be drawn up for consideration by the Selection Committee. The inaugural Aurora Prize will be presented in April 2016 at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia

How it works: 


Nomination period opens

October 2015

Nomination period closes

April 24, 2016

Prize winner announced
The selection committee: 
Lord Ara Darzi


Lord Ara Darzi image Lord Ara Darzi image
Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London
Vartan Gregorian


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Co-founder, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative; President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York
Leymah Gbowee


Leymah Gbowee image Leymah Gbowee image
Nobel Laureate, Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate
Bernard Kouchner


Bernard Kouchner image Bernard Kouchner image
Co-founder, Médecins Sans Frontières; Former French Foreign Minister
Hina Jilani


Hina Jilani image Hina Jilani image
Former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders
John Prendergast


John Prendergast image John Prendergast image
Human Rights Activist and Co-founder, The Sentry
Paul Polman


Paul Polman image Paul Polman image
Co-founder and Chair, IMAGINE; former CEO, Unilever
Samantha Power


Samantha Power image Samantha Power image
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations


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Mary</br> Robinson  image
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Former President of Ireland
Ernesto Zedillo


Ernesto Zedillo image Ernesto Zedillo image
Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; Former President of Mexico
Shirin Ebadi


Shirin Ebadi image Shirin Ebadi image
Human Rights Lawyer and Iran's first female judge; Nobel Laureate
George Clooney

Honorary Co-Chair

George Clooney image George Clooney image
Co-founder, The Sentry; Humanitarian, performer and film maker
Benjamin Ferencz

Honorary Co-Chair

Benjamin Ferencz image Benjamin Ferencz image
Lawyer, Human Rights Activist
Oscar Arias

Honorary Member

Oscar Arias image Oscar Arias image
Two-time President of Costa Rica; Nobel Laureate
Valery Gergiev

Honorary Member

Valery Gergiev image Valery Gergiev image
Artistic and General Director, Mariinsky Theatre; Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmoniker

Honorary Member

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Gareth</br> Evans  image
President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group; Former Australian Foreign Minister
Elie Wiesel 1928 – 2016

First Co-Chair

Elie Wiesel 1928 – 2016 image Elie Wiesel 1928 – 2016 image
President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity; Nobel Laureate

The name Aurora was chosen to honor the memory of Aurora Mardiganian who, as a child, was forced to witness the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide, including losing her father and brothers. Against the odds she survived and went on to devote her life to providing humanitarian relief and raising awareness of the 1915 atrocities. The Prize was inspired by Aurora, and the thousands of untold stories of courage and survival during these events 100 years ago. 

Aurora was also the Roman Goddess of Dawn and the Prize is a means of both showing gratitude for acts of humanity but also giving substantive help to those creating brighter tomorrows for people around the world.  

A $1 million award for inspiring acts of <strong>humanity</strong>