Luxury watchmaker Rolex has presented its coveted “Awards for Enterprise” to two women and three men from Argentina, Georgia, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States. The 28-year-old program bestows the international award every two years on five individuals for innovative work in preserving the world’s natural and cultural heritage.
Each “Rolex Laureate” received $100,000 and a personally-inscribed gold Rolex chronometer at a gala ceremony in Paris on Sept. 29. The winners—picked from more than 1,700 applicants from 116 countries by a panel of eminent scientists and explorers—were selected based on their pioneering projects in the categories of science, technology, the environment, exploration, or cultural heritage. The 2004 winners bring the total number of Laureates over 28 years to 55.
“Over the years, I’ve been continuously impressed at how those singled out as Laureates overcome all obstacles to realize their dreams,” said Patrick Heiniger, chief executive officer of Rolex 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, these new Laureates are determined to advance human knowledge and well-being.
“It’s this invincible spirit that underpins the Rolex Awards and makes us proud of our association with these enterprising men and women,” he said.
This year’s Laureates are:
· 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 who is establishing an interactive learning forum to help nomads and scientists support the introduction of Przewalski horses to their native Mongolian habitat;
· David Lordkipanidze, a palaeo-anthropologist working in his native country of Georgia to explore and protect the earliest known site of human activity outside Africa;
· Teresa Manera, an Argentine paleontologist who is preserving prehistoric animal tracks at a unique site on Argentina’s Atlantic coast that is endangered by tourism and erosion; and
· Kikuo Morimoto, a Japanese silk expert who is creating a model for revitalizing rural Cambodia by reviving traditional silk fabrication.
In addition to the 2004 Laureates, five regional “Associate Laureates” will receive $35,000 and a steel-and-gold Rolex chronometer. They are 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. In June, Rolex invited people around the world to apply for the 2006 Rolex Awards. Projects must be ongoing and workable, original and feasible, and “have a positive impact on the surrounding community and beyond,” says Rolex. Regional deadlines for entries for the 12th Rolex Awards are May 31, 2005 (for Asia, the Pacific, and North, Central, and South America) and Sept. 30, 2005 (for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa).
For an application for the 2006 awards, visit www.rolexawards.com.