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Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya Joins Aurora Prize Selection Committee


Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya Joins Aurora Prize Selection Committee

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative has announced that Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani, as well as the Founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, has joined the esteemed Aurora Prize Selection Committee. The US-based Turkish/Kurdish entrepreneur, known for his successful business ventures and philanthropic endeavors, will play a vital role in selecting the Aurora Prize Humanitarians and Laureate.


Ulukaya's commitment to humanitarian causes aligns with Aurora's core value of "Gratitude in Action." Noubar Afeyan, Co-Founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, expressed gratitude for Ulukaya's remarkable contributions, stating, "We are grateful for Hamdi’s outstanding efforts and look forward to his active participation as a member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee."


As the visionary behind Chobani, Ulukaya launched the company in 2007, and within five years, it became a billion-dollar brand, currently holding the position as the #1 selling yogurt brand in the US. Notably, Ulukaya's business approach has incorporated philanthropy, with Chobani donating 10.5 million products to fight food insecurity in the United States during 2020–2021.


Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, welcomed Ulukaya, recognizing his advocacy for refugees and displaced persons. Darzi emphasized that Ulukaya's expertise and perspective will enhance the Aurora Prize's impact on those most in need.


Ulukaya's humanitarian efforts extend beyond his business success. He is renowned for employee-first policies, including profit-sharing and paid parental leave programs. In 2016, he founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees, mobilizing the business community to provide job opportunities for refugees.


Expressing his honor to join the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Ulukaya stated, "Aurora recognizes the power of one individual on the world, and I look forward to joining this esteemed group to help uncover and showcase the courageous work of unsung humanitarian heroes around the world."


The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a $1 million global award, acknowledges individuals who risk their lives, health, or freedom to save others. Since its inception in 2015, the prize has spotlighted critical humanitarian issues globally. The shortlisted 2024 Aurora Humanitarians were named on September 18, 2023, at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York City.


The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will hold a special series of events in Los Angeles, CA, from May 8 to 10, 2024, organized in partnership with The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA. The events will bring together leading humanitarians to discuss global humanitarian issues and announce the 2024 Aurora Prize Laureate.


About Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish billionaire businessman, activist, and philanthropist of Kurdish ethnicity based in the United States. Ulukaya is the owner, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Chobani, the #1-selling strained yogurt brand in the US. According to Forbes, his net worth as of October 2022 is US$2.1 billion. On 26 April 2016, Ulukaya announced to his employees that he would be giving them 10% of the shares in Chobani. In an interview with CNN Money, Ulukaya mentioned his seriousness about Kurdish rights and leaving Turkey due to the Turkish state's oppression of its Kurdish minority group. In 2002, he started a modest feta-cheese factory on the advice of his father.

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