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Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative was launched on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The initiative is rooted in inspiring stories of courage and survival that emerged during the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians perished. Those fortunate few who survived were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of institutions and individuals who intervened, at great risk. A century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to express gratitude, share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, and celebrate the strength of the human spirit.


The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative creates and supports projects designed to raise public awareness and address the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues.

Aurora’s projects

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative spans a number of projects:

  • The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity: the philanthropic vision of Noubar Afeyan, Vartan Gregorian, and Ruben Vardanyan, the co-founders of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. Together, they seek to build a humanitarian movement by drawing attention to the issues faced by the world’s most vulnerable and recognizing those individuals and organizations who intervene for good.
  • The Aurora Dialogues: a series of thoughtful discussions between leading members of the political, humanitarian, and business communities to raise awareness and address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues.
  • The Aurora Humanitarian Index: an international survey exploring the causes and trends behind the “compassion gap” that exists between what the general public says they feel about humanitarian issues and how they actually engage with these crises.
  • The Aurora Gratitude Scholarships: a series of international projects aimed at shaping a better future for generations to come, with a special focus on education and social development – from the Gratitude Scholarships to partnerships with NGOs that are advancing humanitarian causes.
  • 100 LIVES: a global media and content creation project aimed at preserving the memory of the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide, as well as those who intervened on their behalf a century ago. It is also a platform to present the stories of the Armenian diaspora and its connections to the Armenian heritage, culture and values.

All projects are designed to honor and support deserving individuals and organizations as an expression of gratitude to the saviors who intervened on behalf of Armenians a century ago.

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Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. Partners.

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Interviews and other materials

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Veronika Zonabend
In the land of holidays and sunshine, 26.05.2017
Veronika Zonabend spoke to Tatler about Armenia, the homeland of her husband, impact investor Ruben Vardanyan.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: Aurora Prize has united whole nation, 08.02.2017
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is a very ambitious project, which requires a lot of constant work to address global problems and challenges
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: Live as if you were going to die tomorrow
Andrei Vandenko
The impact investor and social entrepreneur spoke to TASS about what type of threat the coming demographic crisis poses to Russia, how the future will be about social capitalism and why social and educational projects are so important.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan Changes The World One Country At A Time
Forbes, 11.10.2016
Brian Rashid
I got one hour with Mr. Vardayan, and wrote as much as I could. He quickly ran me through some of his most proud professional achievements. 
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Ruben Vardanyan
The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity Ceremony
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: The recent war requires to speak openly
Mediamax, 22.04.2016

Co-founder of Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) foundation, Co-founder of 100 LIVES initiative and Aurora Prize Ruben Vardanyan hopes that the ceremony of Aurora Prize will help the Armenians get a different look at the world.

Ruben Vardanyan said this in an interview to Mark Grigoryan at “Tete-a-tete” program of ATV Channel on April 21.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Mediamax, 23.01.2016
On January 23, businessman and philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan gave an interview to the “Public Agenda” program of the Public TV Company of Armenia. Mediamax picked out some ideas expressed during the interview.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “Base yourself on the past and look to the future”
AGOS (, 19.10.2015

Projects about Armenian history and culture have a remarkable place in 14th Istanbul Biennale that is titled “Salt Water”. Dilijan Art Initiative, which is founded by Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonaben in order to support the cultural development of Dilijan city and Armenia, supports these important projects about the Armenians in Biennial.

One of the prominent figures of Armenian Diaspora, Russian investment banker Ruben Vardanyan is an important entrepreneur and philanthropist. IDeA Foundation (Initiatives for Development of Armenia) that he founded with his wife Veronika Zonabend has the purpose of creating a bright future and a comfortable life style in Armenia with long-term projects. The international school established in Dilijan which has students from 64 countries and “Tatel Revival” which has the purpose of facilitating the cultural and economic development in and around Tatev are the most important projects that were realized by this foundation.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “I don't want us to stop comparing ourselves to the best”, 10.09.2015

With his various initiatives in Armenia, ambitious and requiring large investments, it seems that the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder of IDeA Foundation Ruben Vardanyan is trying to return to local Armenians the charm and advantages of living with wide prospects and long-term plans.

IDeA Foundation's various projects – UWC Dilijan College, the Tatev Revival program, which began with the construction of the Wings of Tatev cableway, and the large-scale 100 LIVES project, which also includes a multilingual multimedia website and other small and large projects – began from a dream, Vardanyan says.

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Ruben Vardanyan
A Public Challenge: Find Humanity in the Inhumane
The Huffington Post, 07.07.2015

Nearly seven million people in the Sudan desperately need humanitarian assistance, facing a daily threat in some areas of bombing, rape and pillage by their government. The United Nations has condemned the Eritrean government for the gross human rights violations that have caused hundreds of thousands to flee the country. In Syria, nearly half the population is either internally displaced or has fled the country. Iraq, Syria’s neighbor, is no safe haven; there, ISIS systematically terrorizes and kills en masse on a daily basis.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Q&A: Ruben Vardanyan, Russia's Armenian Financier Turned Philanthropist
The Moscow Times, 27.05.2015
On one side of Ruben Vardanyan's open-plan office hangs a wall-size photograph of an Armenian mountain panorama. If you look closer you can see – in the center of the photo – a tiny figure of a man in a yellow sweater, with his back to the photographer, staring toward the distant peaks.
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Ruben Vardanyan
It is just the beginning
Mediamax, 25.05.2015
After the May 24 event at UWC Dilijan College, Co-Founder at IDeA (Initiatives for Development of Armenia) Charitable Foundation Ruben Vardanyan talked to journalists.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Induce Memory to Serve Us
The Huffington Post, 10.03.2015

Amid news of the repeated brutalities committed by Boko Haram in Africa, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State throughout the Middle East, it's easy to presume that the 21st century is experiencing violations of human rights and dignity at a pace faster than ever before.

Perhaps. Or perhaps the images make us more aware of man's inhumanity to man, still unbridled and with a persistent sense of impunity.