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Five young visionaries from Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East have today been announced  at London’s leading scientific institution, the Royal Society, as winners of the 2014 Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

Rolex is renown for making among the best watches and clocks in the world.They have been in that trade for over 50 years.

A statement issued by Rolex today said that this year’s Young Laureates  age 30 and under impressed by both their leadership qualities and in their ability to harness technology in an original way to improve the well-being of the community and the environment, as well as to advance scientific knowledge.

“The five Young Laureates were chosen by an international jury of eight eminent experts who reviewed a shortlist from among 1,800 applicants from all over the world. The Laureates will each receive 50,000 Swiss francs to advance their projects,” said in a statement from Rolex.

Among them are, Neeti Kailas, 29, from India who aims to vastly increase screening of newborn babies for hearing loss, through an inexpensive, easy-to-use device, and to set up an associated network of healthcare professionals in India who can diagnose or treat deafness.

From Rwanda came Olivier Nsengimana who is promoting breeding programmes and the release of Rwanda’s captive, endangered grey crowned-cranes. The iconic bird, a symbol of wealth and longevity in Rwanda, is a victim of its own beauty, and is often kept as a pet.

Italian Francesco Sauro  is exploring the vast quartzite caves of South America’s fabled tabletop mountains on the border of Venezuela and Brazil, making discoveries of unique worlds that have evolved in isolation over millenia.

Arthur Zang, 26, from Cameroon invented what is believed to be Africa’s first medical tablet, which will allow healthcare workers in rural areas to send the results of cardiac tests to heart specialists via a mobile phone connection.

And Hossan Zowawi, 29, of Saudi Arabia is developing rapid tests to detect the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, now considered a global threat to human health. He also plans a regional public campaign warning of the dangers of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

“After a record number of young applicants this year, we are proud to announce the winners and to support these individuals in developing their inspiring work,” said Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex. “The five Young Laureates and their projects clearly demonstrate a strong spirit of enterprise and leadership. This year’s jury was particularly impressed with the practical approach each is taking to solve real world problems. They are certainly role models whose stories Rolex is pleased to bring to the world.”

The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were initiated in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster chronometer, the world’s first waterproof watch and a symbol of the innovation that the Awards program supports. The program recognizes enterprising men and women who are using their talents and initiative to change the world in five broad areas: science and health, applied technology, the environment, exploration and discovery, and cultural heritage.


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