The purpose of the 100 LIVES initiative is to address the issues of genocide, human rights violations and the power of positive action through three key elements:
- Learning from the past by issuing a global call to unearth the untold stories of survivors and saviors from the Armenian Genocide that will be brought to life on 100LIVES.com;
- Delivering for the present by introducing the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a new global humanitarian award that will be given to people who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive and thrive; and
- Shaping a better future by administering Gratitude Projects to organizations and in communities that played a prominent role in saving Armenian lives a century ago
The 100 LIVES initiative was founded by international businessmen and philanthropists Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan and humanitarian Vartan Gregorian to demonstrate the impact of the Armenian Genocide and how many of the survivors and their families went on to lead successful lives making significant contributions to global culture, the arts, sports, science and business.
An estimated 1.5 million died during the Armenian Genocide between 1915 and 1923. Around 500,000 survived, many through the intervention of individuals and institutions and there are now Armenian Diaspora communities around the world from Argentina to Australia.
“The humanity, generosity, strength and sacrifice shown by those who saved so many Armenians compels us to tell these stories,” said Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of 100 LIVES. “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.”
Along with honoring past survivors and saviors, the program will establish the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity as a means to empower modern-day saviors. The annual grant of US$100,000 will be awarded to the Aurora Prize Laureate who will, in turn, nominate organizations identified as the inspiration for their action for a US$1 million award.
The Aurora Prize brings together leading human rights luminaries from around the world including Academy Award winner George Clooney, Nobel Peace Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Oscar Arias, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, UN Secretary-General Advisor on Genocide, Gareth Evans, globally respected human rights activist Hina Jilani and President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Vartan Gregorian, to serve on its Selection Committee. Mr. Clooney will award the inaugural Prize at a ceremony to be held in Yerevan, Armenia on 24 April, 2016.