Champions Reinventing The Future
Five New Laureates Of The 2021 Rolex Awards For Enterprise
Five New Laureates Of The 2021 Rolex Awards For Enterprise
Rolex has announced the five pioneers who have earned the title of Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise for their bold, visionary projects that have the potential to help reinvent the future. Among the five men and women who hail from Brazil, Chad, Nepal, the United Kingdom and the United States, are a marine scientist, conservationist, polar explorer, social entrepreneur and a geographer and climate advocate.
The Rolex Awards were set up 45 years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster. Through the programme, the company supports exceptional individuals with innovative projects that expand our knowledge of the world, protect the environment through helping to preserve habitats and species, and also improve human well-being.
The Rolex Awards are one of the three pillars of the Rolex Perpetual Planet initiative dedicated to supporting those who contribute to a better world. For now, the initiative also embraces Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue programme to preserve the oceans and an enhanced association with National Geographic, a Rolex partner since 1954, to understand climate change through science.
For the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, the world was like a living laboratory. From the 1930s, he began to use it as a testing ground for his watches, sending them to the most extreme locations, supporting explorers who ventured into the unknown. But the world has changed.
As the 21st century unfolds, the company has moved from championing exploration for the sake of discovery to protecting the planet and reinforced its commitment by launching the Perpetual
Planet initiative in 2019. It supports individuals and organizations using science to understand the world’s environmental challenges and devise solutions that will restore balance to our ecosystems.
THE 2021 ROLEX LAUREATES ARE: Felix Brooks-church,
a social entrepreneur from the United States, tackles malnutrition in Tanzania through equipping rural flour mills with a ‘dosifier’ machine, which adds critical life-saving micronutrients to fortify the staple foods that millions of people depend on everyday.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim,
from Chad, uses indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge to map natural resources and prevent climate conflicts in the Sahel. Ultimately, she is combining traditional knowledge with modern technology to help the people of the Sahel to share natural resources and to develop methods of resilient agriculture and water management.
Rinzin Phunjok Lama,
from Nepal, works to protect the richly diverse ecosystems of the Trans-himalayan region, home of iconic and globally threatened mammals, by involving local communities. Lama says “if given opportunities, local people can lead exceptionally and are capable of managing large-scale conservation projects and community engagement as real stewards of the land.”
polar explorer and climate change scientist from the United Kingdom, aims to lead the first expedition to
“Rolex has long recognized its responsibility to play a part in creating a sustainable planet, a Perpetual Planet. Rather than venturing into the unknown and discovering uncharted lands, the new breed of explorers is committed to protecting the planet. The five Laureates are prime examples of these guardians of the future.”
Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director of Communication & Image
explore the planet’s northernmost caves to improve our knowledge of climate change in the Arctic. She says that one of the best ways to understand climate change is to be found in studying the chemical history of caves.
from Brazil, is a marine scientist and deep diving expert who works to discover, explore and protect mesophotic coral reefs and their biodiversity in the Indian Ocean, and to strengthen conservation of these largely unknown ecosystems within the ocean’s depths.
The five Laureates will receive funding for their projects and other benefits such as worldwide publicity, which often engenders further support. They were selected by the Rolex Awards jury, a group of independent experts from around the world. The 10 jury members are:
Meena Ganesh, India,
entrepreneur and technology specialist; Toshiyuki Kono, Japan, law professor and cultural heritage advocate; Louise Leakey, Kenya, palaeontologist and anthropologist; Chris
Lintott, United Kingdom, astrophysicist; Wanjira Mathai, Kenya, environmentalist and climate advocate; Sam Myers, United States, research scientist and medical
doctor; Konstantin Novoselov, Russia and United Kingdom, physicist and Nobel Laureate; Jon Paul Rodríguez, Venezuela, ecologist and conservation biologist; Norbu
Tenzing, United States, humanitarian
and environmentalist; Zhu Dajian, China, professor and sustainability expert.
The jury met virtually in November 2020 to choose the Laureates from a shortlist of 15 finalists, created from a field of 1,659 candidates from 139 countries, with the US (13 per cent), Brazil (10 per cent) and Nigeria (7 per cent), ranking in the top three. While the average age was just under 40 years old (39.4), 26 per cent were under 30, with the youngest candidate 18 and the oldest 86. Overall, 34 per cent of the applicants were women. Over 50 per cent of all candidates were from the environment (34 per cent) and science and health (26 per cent) categories.
“The 155 winning projects over nearly a half century have had a real impact on the world, with millions of people around the globe benefiting,” added Boetsch. “Marked by individual achievement, excellence and performance, the Laureates and their projects reflect the values that have underpinned Rolex from its earliest days.”to honour and celebrate the new Laureates, a virtual event will be held at the end of year.