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Ronnie Screwvala to serve on 2014 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Jury

Rolex today announced the Jury of renowned global experts who will choose five Young Laureates from a record number of young candidates for the 2014 Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

Part of the esteemed Jury this year will be India’s most notable social philanthropist and pioneering media entrepreneur – Ronnie Screwvala. He will join seven other distinguished Jury members from other parts of the world.

Looking forward to this association, Ronnie Screwvala said, “The Rolex Awards for Enterprise is an Institution and it’s going to be a privilege to be on the Jury along with colleagues from around the world. This year is extra special as the highest number of applicants from around the Globe are from India – true telling of our entrepreneurial calling.”

The independent, multidisciplinary Jury will meet in April to select the five Young Laureates, who will be honoured at a ceremony later in the year in London. The names of the winners will be announced in June.

Rolex last held the Rolex Awards for Enterprise ceremony in New Delhi in 2012. Following on from this, for the first time in the 38-year history of the programme, India has overtaken the United States as the source of the highest number of applications – 288 from more than 1,800 young people aged 18 to 30, from 129 countries.
“Rolex is delighted with both the quality and quantity of applications for the 2014 series, and we would like to thank everyone who has applied,” said Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex. “From the very beginning, the Rolex Awards have been international, with applications from many countries. However, with this series we can see that the centre of gravity is moving to Asia and Africa with the United States now in third place in numerical terms. In the past the U.S. has often been the source of the greatest number applications on a country-by-country basis.”

The Jury that will soon meet in Geneva brings together some of the greatest minds from across the globe in fields that range from protecting the earth’s biodiversity to developing leading-edge technologies and exploring new worlds. During the two-day meeting, the deputy-chief scientist of the Solar System Exploration Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be in dialogue with an architect designing ecological buildings for rural communities in Africa. While the president of WWF International will be exchanging views with a biotechnologist from Saudi Arabia, to give but two examples of the interchange that will take place.

Brief profiles of the 2014 Rolex Awards Jury members:

Rohinton Soli “Ronnie” Screwvala (India) is a prominent entrepreneur and social philanthropist who launched India’s first cable TV network and founded media conglomerate UTV. He is now focusing on rural development through his Swades Foundation and encouraging entrepreneurship through Unilazer Ventures.

Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador), a world-famous environmentalist, is a long-time champion of sustainable development and biodiversity preservation. Currently president of WWF International, she has served as president of the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) and as Ecuador’s Minister of Environment.

Diébédo Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso) is an architect acclaimed for his ecological building solutions that use local materials and techniques, and involve local communities in Africa. Among his many projects is a primary school in his home town, Gando, which won an Aga Khan Award.

Adam Rutherford (Great Britain) is a geneticist, author and broadcaster known for such insightful programmes as Inside Science for BBC Radio 4 and The Cell and The Gene Code for BBC Television. A former editor at Nature, he writes for leading newspapers.

Lu Zhi (China), a leading conservation biologist and giant panda expert, is spearheading research on the sustainability issues faced by the Chinese people as they struggle to live in balance with nature. She serves today as executive director of Peking University’s Center for Nature and Society and as chief scientist at the Shan Shui Conservation Center.

Hayat Sindi (Saudi Arabia) is a trailblazing biotechnologist known for developing cutting-edge technologies and for empowering young Middle Eastern innovators through her i2 Institute for imagination and ingenuity. A National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Sindi serves on the UN Scientific Advisory Board and Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly.

Linda Partridge (Great Britain) is an internationally respected scientist and an expert on the biology of ageing. She is currently a professor of biometry and director of the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London (UCL) and a founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing, in Cologne.

Kevin Hand (United States), deputy-chief scientist of the Solar System Exploration Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is helping spearhead a project to send a spacecraft to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa, in an effort to find life beyond Earth. He is also engaged in empowering African children through his Cosmos Education organization.

Awards for Young Laureates

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were launched in 1976 to encourage individuals with the courage and determination to take on major challenges improving lives or protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage. In 2009, Rolex decided to invest in the next generation of leaders by dedicating every second cycle of the Awards to enterprising young people with groundbreaking projects. Candidates can apply in five areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural heritage.

This year’s Young Laureates will join the 125 Laureates and Young Laureates from more than 60 countries who have been honoured since the initiative began. The 2014 Jury will similarly join the 122 expert judges who have served before them. As in the past, these judges will face the daunting task of choosing five winners from among the projects shortlisted by Rolex after in-house scientific researchers have spent a year investigating the submissions and interviewing dozens of finalists around the world.

The five winners will each receive 50,000 Swiss francs to further their work, a Rolex chronometer and ongoing international publicity. Significantly, each will have access to the Rolex Awards’ formidable global network of scientists, environmentalists, explorers and institutional leaders, built up over nearly four decades.

Rolex philanthropy

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise and its sister programme, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, comprise the two major international philanthropic programmes run by the Rolex Institute. The Rolex Awards were established in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster chronometer, the world’s first waterproof watch. They were created to encourage individual’s worldwide ready to take on major challenges to benefit humankind and the planet. The Arts Initiative brings together emerging artists with masters in architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts for a year of intensive collaboration. The aim is to help ensure that artistic excellence is passed on to the next generation. Both programmes foster innovation and advance the work of those who exemplify the vision, ingenuity and excellence that define the Rolex brand.