CELEBRATING THE 2021 LAUREATES

GUARDIANS OF THE FUTURE

Be inspired by the five Laureates of the 2021 Rolex Awards for Enterprise. Discover how these pioneers are tackling some of the world’s most intractable challenges with brilliant ideas and hard work.

Guiding us towards a sustainable future, the Laureates’ projects include fortifying food to fight malnutrition in Tanzania; protecting the rich biodiversity in the Trans-Himalaya; exploring deep coral reefs in the Indian Ocean; seeking climate change clues in the planet’s northernmost caves; and using indigenous knowledge to map resources to prevent climate conflict in the Sahel.
N'Djamena & Lake Chad, Chad

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Use indigenous peoples’ knowledge to map resources and prevent conflict around climate in Chad

The reality of climate change is known to few better than the people of Chad. The country’s largest lake, which bears the nation’s name and supports more than 30 million people, has almost vanished in barely two generations. For climate change and indigenous rights advocate Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, the tragedy also offers an opportunity to bring her people together to solve their crisis, using the unlikely medium of mapping.

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Gan, Maldives

Luiz Rocha

Explore and protect the Indian Ocean’s deep-sea coral reefs

A hundred metres or more beneath the ocean surface in the Maldives lies a twilight zone whose wondrous corals and strange life remain unexplored. In a pioneering diving expedition, a leading expert in the study of fish, Luiz Rocha, plans to survey these deep reefs to find and describe new species and make the case for their protection.

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Greenland

Gina Moseley

Explore and study the world’s northern-most caves for new insights into climate change in the Arctic

British climate researcher Gina Moseley will cross one of the world’s last frontiers in exploration when she abseils into the planet’s most northerly unexplored Arctic caves seeking clues to the planet’s climatic past. Her world-first expedition seeks to expose the risk to humanity from polar regions now heating twice as fast as elsewhere – and threatening to drown coastal cities worldwide.

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Humla, Nepal

Rinzin Phunjok Lama

Promote local initiatives for biodiversity conservation in Nepal’s Trans-Himalaya

Local people from one of the world’s wildest and most isolated places, the mountainous Himalaya region of Humla in Nepal, are being enlisted as frontline conservators to rescue dwindling wild animal populations – from snow leopards to wild yaks. Driving the scheme is an energetic young ecologist, Rinzin Phunjok Lama, who is convinced that only local commitment and know-how can make the real difference.

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Tanzania

Felix Brooks-church

Eradicate malnutrition in Tanzania, one fortified bag at a time

Poor nutrition contributes to 15,000 preventable child deaths daily worldwide. American social entrepreneur Felix Brooks-church has an answer: an ingenious system to ensure that each meal consumed by every mother and infant living in an underprivileged society contains all the essential, life-saving nutrients. His project is bringing new life and hope to children in Tanzania, as a model for the world.

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