Rolex Seeks Entries To 12th Worldwide Awards For Innovative Projects

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May 2, 2005 The Rolex watch company is calling for entries from around the world for the 2006 Rolex Awards – the 30th anniversary of this international, biennial initiative. Enterprising individuals of any age, nationality or background are invited to apply to the 12th cycle of this philanthropic programme that was created in 1976 to support groundbreaking projects in science and medicine; technology and innovation; exploration and discovery; the environment and cultural heritage.

Five winners – the Laureates – will be honoured at a ceremony in Singapore in October 2006. They will each receive US$100,000, a specially inscribed gold Rolex chronometer and international publicity for projects that meet the programme’s criteria: originality, feasibility and potential impact. All projects must improve the human condition and, above all, demonstrate the candidates’ unfailing spirit of enterprise. Rather than rewarding past achievements, the Awards assist those embarking on new ventures or completing ongoing projects.

Deadlines for applications are as follows: Asia, the Pacific and North, Central and South America: May 31, 2005 Europe, the Middle East and Africa: September 30, 2005

Prospective entrants can complete the official application form available on the Rolex Awards website

and submit their project on-line, or download the form and, once completed, post it to the Rolex Awards Secretariat. Further information and application forms can also be obtained by writing to the Secretariat at the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, PO Box 1311, 1211 Geneva 26, Switzerland.

Following review by the Rolex Secretariat, short-listed projects will be submitted to an independent jury, the Selection Committee, which will meet early in 2006.

2004 Rolex Awards

The winners of the 2004 Rolex Awards were announced at a ceremony in Paris on September 29 last year.

Two women and three men from Argentina, Georgia, Japan, Switzerland and the United States won the coveted international prize that the Swiss watchmaker bestows on five outstanding individuals every two years.

Each Laureate received US$100,000 and a personally inscribed gold Rolex chronometer at a gala ceremony in Paris where the five winners – selected from more than 1,700 applicants from 116 countries by a panel of eminent scientists and explorers – were recognised for their pioneering projects in the areas of science, technology, the environment, exploration and cultural heritage.

The 2004 winners bring the total number of Laureates in the programme’s 28-year history to 55. Like their predecessors, the prize-winners’ wide-ranging projects share the common goal of improving life on our planet.

Last year’s Laureates were Lonnie Dupre, an American explorer undertaking the first summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean, on skis and by kayak, to raise awareness of global warming; Claudia Feh, a Swiss equine specialist establishing an interactive learning forum to help nomads and scientists to support the introduction of Przewalski horses to their native Mongolian habitat; David Lordkipanidze, a palaeoanthropologist who is working in his native Georgia to explore and protect the earliest known site of human activity outside Africa; Teresa Manera, an Argentine palaeontologist, who is preserving prehistoric animal tracks at a unique site on Argentina’s Atlantic coast endangered by tourism and erosion; and Kikuo Morimoto, a Japanese silk expert who is creating a model for revitalising rural Cambodia by reviving traditional silk fabrication.

“Over the years, I have been continuously impressed at how those singled out as Laureates overcome all obstacles to realise their dreams,“ said Patrick Heiniger, Chief Executive Officer of Rolex SA and Chairman of the Awards Selection Committee. “The 2004 winners are no exception. Whether helping to safeguard the planet by revealing the perils of global warming, protecting an important prehistoric site, or improving life in war-torn Cambodia by promoting traditional silk-making, the new Laureates are determined to advance human knowledge and well-being. It is this invincible spirit that underpins the Rolex Awards and makes us proud of our association with these enterprising men and women.”

The Associate Laureates

In addition to the prizes awarded to the 2004 Laureates, five Associate Laureates each received US$35,000 and a steel-and-gold Rolex chronometer. These runners-up were honoured at ceremonies in their own countries.

The 2004 Associate Laureates werere: Pisit Charnsnoh (Thailand); Laury Cullen (Brazil); Shekar Dattatri (India); Dora Nipp (Canada); and Joan Thompson (United States). Their projects range from using short films to educate policy-makers about environmental issues in India to creating an interactive museum based on oral testimonies of immigrants in Toronto, Canada.

Selection Process The nine, independent, voluntary specialists who comprised this year’s Selection Committee conducted a rigorous review of the candidates, applying their own expertise and spirit of enterprise to judging the projects. “A recurring theme in the winning projects is the importance of conserving our natural and cultural heritage,” observed Mr Heiniger. “The jury members were united in their support of these endeavours.”


Lonnie Dupre: Summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean

Growing up on his parents’ farm in the U.S. state of Minnesota, Lonnie Dupre revelled in the region’s white winters and was fascinated by “the north”. Now aged 43, he has completed six major Arctic expeditions, including the first circumnavigation of Greenland by dogsled and kayak. In 2005, he and fellow explorer Eric Larsen will attempt the first summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean, by kayak and on skis, with no external support, to draw attention to the threat of global warming, particularly to the Arctic and its vulnerable ecosystems.

Claudia Feh: Forum to support reintroduction of Przewalski horses to Mongolia

Claudia Feh, who has spent more than 30 years observing free-living horses, has established herself as a world expert on their behaviour. For the past decade, Feh, originally from Switzerland, has been raising the world’s only natural herd of Przewalski horses, in France. She reintroduced the first of two groups of 12 horses to the Mongolian steppes in September 2004, and will now ensure that local nomads and international experts benefit equally from the initiative by sharing information in a pioneering learning forum in a village in western Mongolia.

David Lordkipanidze: Explore earliest known hominid site outside Africa

Since the bones of the earliest-known human ancestors to venture out of Africa came to light at Dmanisi, Georgia, in 1991, palaeoanthropologist David Lordkipanidze has led the excavation, under challenging economic and political circumstances, of what is now regarded as one of the world's foremost prehistoric sites. He has gathered an international team of scientists who, each year, make astonishing new finds that are rewriting the human story. He plans to extend the excavations and protect this and other nearby sites, building a shelter that will include a field laboratory and museum.

Teresa Manera de Bianco: Preserve prehistoric animal tracks at unique site

Argentine palaeontologist and geologist Teresa Manera de Bianco is struggling to save a unique collection of animal footprints made 12,000 years ago. The three-kilometre-long site is now part of the Atlantic coastline near Manera’s home, but 12,000 years ago it was an inland pond teeming with birds and mammals. Covered for thousands of years by sediment, the site is today under threat from rising sea levels and thousands of tourists. Confronting technical challenges and government bureaucracy, Manera is racing against time to preserve the footprints in latex casts that will provide scientists with important clues about the life of animals that once roamed the pampas.

Kikuo Morimoto: Reviving traditional silk fabrication in Cambodia

Moved by the failure of the Cambodian countryside to recover from decades of war, silk expert Kikuo Morimoto left a job in Thailand in the 1990s to build silk-fabrication workshops in the hinterland of Cambodia. His goal was to help impoverished Cambodians resurrect traditional silk production. His vision has grown, and he is now replanting trees needed to produce silk, reviving traditional weaving and providing profitable work to hundreds of people making heritage-class textiles. The next step is the establishment of a “silk village” as a model to help revitalise rural Cambodia.

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