News Release – Some of the world’s foremost scientists, explorers, environmentalists, will converge to celebrate winners of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise: Young Laureates Programme in Geneva.
The Young Laureates Programme seeks to foster a spirit of enterprise in the next generation with innovative projects. The Awards ceremony will take place on 11 November 2010 at the new Rolex Learning Center at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of Europe’s leading science and technology universities.
Polymath Brian Eno, the British record producer, composer, singer, multimedia artist and a noted technological innovator, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Long concerned with the future of society and the global environment, he will talk about the relationship between science and the arts.
The Young Laureates, all aged between 18 and 30, are: Jacob Colker from the United States, Reese Fernandez from the Philippines, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu from Nigeria, Piyush Tewari from India and Bruktawit Tigabu from Ethiopia. Their projects range from transforming volunteering for the 21st century to enabling impoverished women to create eco-ethical fashion goods, from developing interactive radio in order to promote sustainable farming, to training volunteers to provide rapid care to road accident victims and developing TV programmes to improve children’s health.
“On the occasion of the Awards ceremony, Rolex is taking the opportunity to showcase both the winners and their visionary projects and to foster intellectual exchange between them and some of the best thinkers from Switzerland and abroad,” said Rebecca Irvin, head of the Rolex Institute, the company’s philanthropic and educational arm. “Our ultimate goal is to encourage an enterprising spirit among under-30s worldwide and to stimulate innovation in the region in order to help ensure a better future for the next generation.”
An inspiring programme
To coincide with this celebration, from 9 to 11 November, Rolex and the EPFL are co-hosting a series of presentations encompassing the theme of innovation. All of these activities are designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas among the Young Laureates and international guests, including more than 40 former Rolex Awards Laureates and Jury members, as well as the 22 Young Laureate.
As part of the interaction between the young Rolex entrepreneurs and the EPFL community, visits are being organized to two of the university’s groundbreaking research labs: the Blue Brain Project, in order to understand brain function and dysfunction;; and the Global Health Institute, created to contribute to the understanding, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, there will be presentations of the university’s landmark research in areas such as health and diagnostics, and water and sustainability.
“We are honoured to co-host the ceremony and to welcome the young innovators and other Rolex guests to our campus,” said Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli, vice president of Innovation and Technology Transfer at EPFL and a member of the 2010 Young Laureates Jury. “The EPFL wants to stimulate entrepreneurship among students, and the Rolex Young Laureates Programme is a great match for us.”
Rolex Young Laureates Programme
An expansion of the long-standing Rolex Awards for Enterprise, the Young Laureates Programme, launched in January 2009, honours men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 with inventive ideas to solve tomorrow’s challenges in science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment and cultural preservation. Each Young Laureate receives US$50,000 over the course of two years, giving the winners time to focus on their pioneering projects and move forward in implementing them. The Rolex Awards international network of innovators, comprised of former Laureates and Jury members, is available for guidance.
The Young Laureates Programme complements the original Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which will be held again in 2012 and for which applications are already open (rolexawards.com).
The Young Laureates Programme, an expansion of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, fosters innovation in the next generation. Launched in 2009, the initiative supports visionary young men and women at a critical juncture in their careers, enabling them to implement inventive ideas exploration, the environment and cultural preservation.
Candidates must be between 18 and 30 years old when the Award is presented. Their projects should demonstrate originality, feasibility, potential for sustained impact and, above all, each candidate’s own spirit of enterprise.
Rolex invites a range of institutions, organizations and individuals worldwide to nominate exceptional young pioneers around the globe as potential candidates. A rigorous screening process follows in which the candidates’ projects are examined in detail to choose those that best meet the criteria. A former Laureate or Jury member interviews these applicants.
The Rolex Awards recognize extraordinary and often unacknowledged. With the Young Laureates Programme, Rolex is focusing on a younger generation of achievers who are tackling today’s biggest challenges with a similar spirit of enterprise.
The Young Laureates Programme and the original Rolex Awards for Enterprise alternate every nationality can apply. Application details can be found at rolexawards.com.
Rolex Philanthropic and Educational Activities
Driven by an unwavering spirit of enterprise since its beginnings over a century ago, Rolex is renowned for its many technical innovations that have made it the leader of the luxury watch industry and a symbol of excellence around the globe. The company brand values of quality, sponsorships and philanthropy.
The Rolex Institute embodies this philosophy. Comprising the company’s philanthropic programmes, educational initiatives and patronage, it aims at recognizing those who make a The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is the second international philanthropic programme created and run by Rolex. Launched in 2002 to complement the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, it brings emerging artists from around the globe together with great artistic masters in six disciplines supporting excellence in the next generation as the Young Laureates Programme.
Through the Rolex Institute, Rolex similarly underwrites educational activities in the standing relationship with EPFL in research into materials science and microtechnology for watch design. In addition, Rolex sponsors the “Universe of Particles” exhibition at CERN (the European professional watchmakers for the most demanding requirements of the industry.
Under the auspices of the Rolex Institute, Rolex also supports the charitable activities of many of its brand ambassadors and other cultural and sports personalities associated with the company.
The five Young Laureates in the inaugural Rolex Awards for Enterprise: Young Laureates programme are:
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, 27, Nigeria – intends to boost the living standards of millions of Nigerian farmers through his interactive, mobile radio network. Hundreds of thousands of rural listeners are already receiving and exchanging information on sustainable farming practices and health issues.
Jacob Colker, 26, United States – is changing the way people get involved in community service. His internet-based programme allows volunteers to use their smartphones to donate spare minutes to charitable and scientific organizations.
Reese Fernandez, 25, Philippines – is committed to alleviating poverty by training people to become social entrepreneurs. Her Rags2Riches enterprise has already empowered hundreds of women to earn a living by turning scrap materials into elegant fashion accessories.
Piyush Tewari, 29, India – has set up a foundation to train a network of police officers and volunteers to respond quickly to road accidents and administer rapid medical care. By providing immediate assistance to victims, he hopes to stem the thousands of fatalities that occur on Indian roads each year.
Bruktawit Tigabu, 28, Ethiopia – is building on the success of a television programme on health that she and her husband are producing for preschool children and their parents.
For further information, visit: young.rolexawards.com, or contact:
Anne-Sophie de Guigné The Rolex Awards for Enterprise, P.O. Box 1311, 1211 Geneva 26 Switzerland Tel. +41 22 302 7688, Fax +41 22 302 2585.