Record number of entries for Rolex Awards
Dubai, December 26, 2007
The 2008 series of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise has received a record number of applications from the Arab world.
The 138 applications from people working in 16 countries to advance human knowledge and well-being represent nearly four times the number submitted from the region during the last awards two years ago, an increase of 294 per cent, said an official spokesman.
From science, medicine and technology to the environment and cultural heritage, the project themes reflect the high level of enterprising activity taking place in the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa. The largest number of projects is in the field of environment, followed by cultural heritage, technology, medicine and science.
“We were sure that the level of innovation and enterprising activity in the region had not been reflected in previous Rolex Awards,” said head of the Rolex Secretariat in Geneva Rebecca Irvin.
“The strong showing for the 2008 series, which resulted from our directed efforts to expand applications from the Middle East and North Africa, proves there are many great untold stories of progress here,” added Irvin.
The largest number of MENA applicants, 77, came from Egypt - the most populous country in the region - followed by Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the UAE. Male applicants outnumbered female applicants five to one, while the oldest applicant was 75 and the youngest was 21. The mean age was 41.
The strong regional participation is fitting since the 31-year-old programme will hold its 2008 global awards ceremony in Dubai on November 18 under the patronage of Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
For each series, the Rolex Awards Secretariat receives between 1,000 and 2,000 entries from more than 100 countries, with the highest number typically emerging from the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
The 138 MENA applications represent approximately nine per cent of the current total of 1,477 entries, with Egypt having the fourth highest number of applications, following the US (234), Italy (84) and India (82).
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise are presented every two years to support and promote pioneering work in five broad areas: science and medicine, technology and innovation, exploration and discovery, the environment, and cultural heritage.
Ten winners, the Rolex Laureates and Associate Laureates, are chosen by the Selection Committee, an independent, voluntary jury of internationally renowned experts from a variety of disciplines and countries.
Professor Farkhonda Hassan, Egyptian geologist and professor at the American University in Cairo, is one of 11 committee members who will meet in April 2008 in Geneva under the chairmanship of Rolex CEO Patrick Heiniger to select the winners.
The five Rolex Laureates will each receive $100,000, a specially inscribed gold Rolex chronometer and international publicity for their projects. The five Associate Laureates will each receive a gold-and-steel Rolex chronometer and $50,000.
The Associate Laureates will be recognised at ceremonies in their home countries or regions following the international event in Dubai. – TradeArabia News Service