Five Young Laureates announced in New Delhi

Five pioneers, aged between 25 and 30, have been named as Young Laureates, thanks to a decision by Rolex to give extra prizes for the 2012 series of the Rolex Awards.

The Young Laureates – Karina Atkinson, Selene Biffi, Sumit Dagar, Arun Krishnamurthy and Maritza Morales Casanova – were announced at a ceremony on 27 November in New Delhi, India, by renowned sportsman, film and TV personality Vijay Amritraj. Each receives 50,000 Swiss francs to implement their projects, a Rolex chronometer and worldwide publicity.

The Rolex Awards are presented every two years. Since 2010, every second series is reserved for applications from people aged between 18 and 30. The 2012 series was open to all ages, with no particular provision for awards for Young Laureates. However, due to a five-fold increase in applications from people aged 30 and under for the 2012 series, Rolex asked this year’s Jury to select five young winners.

Young Laureates are selected for their potential to become tomorrow’s leaders. Like those honoured previously, all five 2012 Young Laureates have groundbreaking projects that will bring positive change to the environment or local communities and beyond:

Karina Atkinson (aged 27, United Kingdom) is developing a scientific research centre at a biologically rich reserve in Paraguay and using community outreach to educate the surrounding impoverished communities about the value of conservation.

Selene Biffi (aged 30, Italy) is establishing a storytelling school in Afghanistan to preserve the country’s oral heritage, and provide youth with the skills to help NGOs deliver vital health and development information.

Sumit Dagar (aged 29, India) wants India’s millions of blind people to participate more fully in society by giving them access to the digital revolution through a Braille smartphone developed for their local conditions.

Arun Krishnamurthy (aged 25, India) is motivating students and community volunteers to restore severely polluted urban lakes in Chennai, before taking on other urban water bodies in the region.

Maritza Morales Casanova (aged 28, Mexico) is building an environmental park in the Yucatán where children can have fun learning about conservation and become involved themselves in educating other young people on sustainability.

The independent Jury that chose the 2012 Laureates and Young Laureates includes prominent explorers, scientists, educators and environmentalists acclaimed for their own achievements and their generosity of spirit.

The ceremony was held in New Delhi to honour the 2012 traditional Laureates of the Rolex Awards, who are aged between 34 and 54: Sergei Bereznuk (Russian Federation), Barbara Block (United States of America), Erika Cuéllar (Bolivia), Mark Kendall (Australia) and Aggrey Otieno (Kenya). The names of these Laureates were announced earlier this year. The Young Laureates will be honoured at a ceremony in 2013.

The 2014 Rolex Awards are reserved for those aged between 18 and 30. Applications are now open.

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