Ruben Vardanyan’s message to the participants of “Aurora”

Ruben Vardanyan delivered a message to the participants of “Aurora” from Baku prison (video)

In 2024 At the “Aurora” award ceremony, the wife of the co-founder of the “Aurora” initiative Ruben Vardanyan, Veronika Zonabend, read Ruben Vardanyan’s message from Baku prison. Veronika Zonabend’s speech is presented below.

Dear guests and participants of the 8th “Aurora” awards ceremony, I am joining you from Armenia, Yerevan.

I am standing here in the park of the IDeA Foundation, which was founded by Ruben and I together with our friends and colleagues almost 25 years ago. “Aurora” was born from these roots, it was founded by Nubar, Vardan and Ruben.

Before reading Ruben’s message, I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to all of you, the Aurora community, for your support and encouragement. Having been imprisoned in Baku for more than 200 days, Ruben and other Armenian prisoners received your support, you expressed your solidarity with them by your bold actions demanding their immediate and unconditional release. Most recently, during Reuben’s 20-day hunger strike, you raised your voice again, joining the family’s voice, which is invaluable. Thank you once again.

And now I present Ruben’s message. Baku prison, 2024.

“In 2015, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Vardan, Nubar and I, thinking about how to celebrate that fateful day, decided that we should not only pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the tragedy. We wanted to express our gratitude to all those who helped our grandparents and saved lives.

We wanted to change the Armenian narrative from the image of the victim and the memory of the past to a new perspective of looking to the future with hope.

We started this initiative to express gratitude on behalf of our people to the heroes of today, to honor them and to help them continue their difficult mission and good deeds. We dreamed that Yerevan would become the humanitarian capital of the world, and that we would unite, becoming a united nation with the Armenian diaspora scattered around the world as a result of the genocide.

With Aurora, we are bringing the world’s attention to the real heroes of today who risk their well-being and lives, who find faith and a way to help others.

Thanks to Aurora, I met people who taught me the most important lesson: to stick to human values ​​and principles no matter the situation, and to follow your own path.

I made the decision to move to Artsakh thanks to the heroes of “Aurora”. I decided to be around people who needed help and tried to do everything possible to help them. Now being here, completely isolated from the outside world for almost eight months, I have plenty of time to reflect.

I don’t regret choosing that path at all. I am deeply grateful to you for inspiring me and pushing me to do the right thing. Now I have a much better understanding of what drove Margarit Barankice, Tom Katina and the other Aurora Laureates, and why they believe so much in the power of one person: a person who can change the world for the better. We simply have no choice but to try.

Unfortunately, the world has not become kinder as a result of your good deeds, but this means that what you do is more important now than ever.

Your commitment to helping others is what keeps me going here. I am convinced now, more than ever, that values ​​and principles are more important than even life.

I wish you success in your mission and extend my warmest congratulations to this year’s laureate. I am sure that together we can do a lot to make the world a better and kinder place for everyone. As Margarit often says: “Love always wins.” And let love and values ​​win. And may we all give more than we can ever hope to receive. Each of us can actually make a difference.”



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