The Rolex Awards were set up 45 years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Oyster, and remains one of the world’s most prominent programmes that supports exceptional individuals with innovative projects that expand our knowledge of the world, protect the environment and improve human well-being.
Proceeding this year despite the pandemic, the five laureates — a marine scientist, conservationist, polar explorer, social entrepreneur as well as geographer and climate advocate — will receive funding for their projects and other benefits such as worldwide publicity, which often engenders further support.
The jury of 10 met virtually last November to choose the laureates from a shortlist of 15 finalists, gathered from a field of 1,659 candidates from 139 countries, and came up with a final list of five.
“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,” commented Rolex director of communications and image Arnaud Boetsch.
“Marked by individual achievement, excellence and performance, the laureates and their projects reflect the values that have underpinned Rolex from its earliest days.”
A virtual event celebrating the new laureates will be held at year-end, but if you cannot wait till then, see here for more information.
Here are the laureates:
Felix Brooks-church, from the US, tackles malnutrition in Tanzania through equipping rural flour mills with a “dosifier” machine, which adds critical micronutrients to fortify staple foods.
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, from Chad, uses indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge to map natural resources and prevent climate conflicts in the semi-arid Sahel region.
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.
Gina Moseley, from the UK, aims to lead the first expedition to explore the planet’s northernmost caves to improve our knowledge of climate change in the Arctic.
Luiz Rocha, from Brazil, works to explore and protect mesophotic coral reefs and their biodiversity in the Indian Ocean, and to strengthen the conservation of these largely unknown ecosystems.
This article first appeared on Aug 9, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.