Given Brian Eno stature in the music world, it would’ve been easy enough for him to simply play the producer role for his Rolex Arts Initiative protégé Ben Frost . It would’ve been a huge deal for the young, Australian composer and musician to get the same treatment as bands such as Talking Heads, U2, Robert Fripp and Coldplay, but the father of ambient music wanted to do something entirely new.
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu (left) interviews a local. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu’s fondest memories are of growing up on his father’s farm in Nigeria and learning the practices of sustainable agriculture. By the time Ikegwuonu had established his own farm—not to mention earning multiple degrees in development, history, and international studies—he was well aware of how few resources there…
When Piyush Tewari was still in his twenties, he was appointed India manager of a private equity firm with hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in investments. It was a dream come true for the young man from Delhi. But when his 17-year-old cousin was hit by a car and left unattended more than 40 minutes before he died, Tewari learned that this death, like countless road fatalities in India, could have been prevented if the cousin had received rapid medical care. As Tewari investigated, he uncovered systemic deficiencies in India’s first response to accidents which have pushed the nation’s road death toll to the highest in the world. In 2008, in his free time, Tewari founded the SaveLife Foundation, whose mission is to train police officers and bystanders to give emergency care to road victims, including trauma management, CPR, and bleeding control. SaveLife has already trained 2,000 police officers, as well as hundreds of volunteers. In the coming year, the SaveLife Foundation will be strengthened by the establishment of a call center with full-time staff to locate trained emergency responders near road accidents and arrange for immediate assistance for victims.
Almost 400,000 children die in Ethiopia a year, mostly from preventable causes like malaria, diarrhoea and measles. Growing up surrounded by poverty and then working as a primary school teacher in Addis Ababa, Bruktawit Tigabu saw it all for herself. She decided early on to make a change by educating children on health and social matters. Working from their living room, Tigabu and her husband produced Tsehai Loves Learning, an educational program about a young female giraffe who tackles crucial issues such as health, nutrition, and life skills.
Jacob Colker In 2008 Jacob Colker co-founded The Extraordinaries with a simple mission: making volunteerism less daunting to working people. Colker understood that many people wanted to give their free time but were intimidated by the complexity of finding causes. And through his own experience, he knew that most nonprofits needed all the unpaid help…
Reese holds a handwoven bag from the Rags2Riches program.
More than 12,000 families live among the hazards of Manila’s Payatas waste dump. When Reese Fernandez learned that women who earned a living there making rugs from scraps were being exploited by middlemen, she was provoked to act. In 2007 Fernandez co-founded Rags2Riches, which organized the women of Payatas and arranged for them to sell their products directly to retailers. More recently Fernandez and her team consulted designers and found methods of transforming the rugs into fashion handbags, eyeglass cases, wine bottle holders, and other products fit for sale in top end shops. Rags2Riches employs 300 women in Payatas, some of whom are now its partial owners. In addition to 40% of the retail price of each item, the women receive health insurance and training in personal finance and nutrition.
THE YOUNG LAUREATES(L-R: Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, Reese Fernandez, Jacob Colker, Bruktawit Tigabu, Piyush Tewari)
When Rolex established the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 1976, the company wanted to reward remarkable people whose work deepened human knowledge and contributed to well-being. In 2009 Rolex expanded its commitment to reward those who strive for social change by launching its Young Laureates Programme, which provides funding to young leaders whose work demonstrates groundbreaking solutions to contemporary challenges in 5 fields: science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment, and cultural preservation. Every round, five visionary young men and women are awarded $50,000, split over two years. The first year of funding gives the laureates time to deepen and focus their ideas; the second year is intended to promote the project and propel its work into the future. Rolex also provides the winners access to its international network of explorers, scientists, educators, and experts, who can act as mentors, guides, and vital contacts as the Young Laureates develop skills to make them the leaders of tomorrow.
Selection for the Rolex Young Laureate Program will alternate every two years with the original Rolex Awards for Excellence. It is open to anyone of any nationality between the ages of 18 and 31. The next round of Young Laureates will be chosen in 2012. Application details can be found on the Rolex Awards site.
Sundance Channel is proud to partner with Rolex Awards for Enterprise in their support of visionary young men and women tackling the world’s most pressing issues in five areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment and cultural preservation. Stay tuned for the announcement of the next Awards for Enterprise winner soon.