George Clooney joined humanitarian leaders to launch a new global prize, the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, as part of the 100 LIVES initiative. 100 LIVES is a new global initiative rooted in the events of the Armenian Genocide, during which hundreds of thousands of Armenians were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of individuals and institutions.
Mr. Clooney and 100 LIVES co-founder Ruben Vardanyan discussed their goals to combat genocide and explained how apathy—one of the biggest challenges to addressing the issue—must be confronted by real and sustained awareness:
“We really want people to get involved with 100 LIVES,” said Clooney, “to celebrate those that overcome adversity and give back to others, just as the Armenian community is doing in this centenary year.”
“The humanity, generosity, strength and sacrifice shown by those who saved so many Armenians compels us to tell these stories,” added Vardanyan. “Now is the time to shine a light on those most extraordinary lives, to build on the lessons they teach us, and to express our gratitude for what they did.”
The Aurora Prize will be given to those who put themselves at risk and enable others to survive and thrive. Its annual grant of $1 million will be awarded to a recipient who will, in turn, present it to the organization identified as the inspiration for their action. Mr. Clooney will award the inaugural Prize at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on 24 April, 2016.
The Prize’s Selection Committee will feature Mr. Clooney alongside human rights luminaries including Nobel laureates Elie Wiesel and Oscar Arias, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson; UN Secretary-General Advisor on Genocide, Gareth Evans; respected human rights activist Hina Jilani; and Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.