First Aurora Prize Laureate Marguerite Barankitse Visits Armenia


YEREVAN (Mediamax) —  First Aurora Prize Laureate Marguerite Barankitse has paid a visit to Armenia. First she visited the Tsitsernakaberd monument and laid flowers at the eternal flame.

“I haven’t come here as a victim, I came as with hope and sunlight in the darkness. I am convinced that love will always win. I see the Armenians refusing to be silenced, and it gives me a lot of hope. The denial of the Armenian Genocide is a terrible mistake. The Armenians suffered the Genocide while many have denied the fact up today,” Barankitse said.

She emphasized that her country is currently suffering genocide, while the international community qualifies those killings as just “events.”

“The Armenian Genocide should inspire vigilance in communities to ‘never again’ allow such a crime to happen. My last visit to Armenia was a consolation for me. People tried to console others, wishing to make my children’s lives, lives of those from Congo, Brazil and Ethiopia for the better. Young people saved with the help of Aurora Prize will change this world. It is a source of great inspiration for me. We should never stop, we should keep on working hard toward our goals,”  she said.

“Education is a powerful tool, which can make this world a better place. The opportunity to send young people to study with the help of this prize inspires hope that we will never have to witness another genocide, since we will have great leaders, ministers and qualified doctors. They will bring our dream of having a better world into reality,” she added.

Barankitse planted a tree at the Tsitsernakaberd park in the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

She then visited the Tatev medieval monastery and Aksel Bakunts House-Museum, as well as met with representatives of NGOs in Goris, cultural figures and students. Then Barankitse headed to Artsakh to see Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, the Upper Mosque and the Narekatsi Art Institute in Shushi.

Barankitse met the students of Artsakh State University in Stepanakert and visited Stepanakert’s Museum of Fallen Soldiers. She also visited Gandzasar monastery.

She was scheduled to visit the Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs and Trchunyan Tun orphanage during her stop in Gyumri. Marguerite Barankitse also met with Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II in Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin and then representatives of Altitude 5165 humanitarian organization.

Barankitse, along with other guests, participated in the Aurora Prize events.

On April 24, 2016 Marguerite Barankitse, the founder of Maison Shalom and REMA hospital, received the Aurora Prize for the exceptional impact of her actions on preserving lives during the years of civil war in Burundi. To date, she has saved 30 thousand children and offered them shelter and care.