Opportunity Opens for Nigerian Teens to Join 2023 Rise Challenge

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, has announced that young Nigerians aged 15 to 17 (as of July 1, 2023) can apply for the 2023 Rise Challenge.

The flagship programme of Schmidt Futures and the anchor of a broader $1 billion philanthropic commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt, find brilliant people who need opportunity and support them for life as they work to serve others.

Rise will build a lifelong community of students, teachers, and institutions across sectors that aim to serve others. The programme, which identifies young people between the ages of 15 and 17 from around the world, is designed to encourage a lifetime of service and learning by providing support that could include scholarships, career services, and funding opportunities to help these leaders serve others for decades to come.

Since its inception, Rise has welcomed over 150,000 people from over 170 countries to its community and selected 200 winners from 69 countries of origin who have showcased their brilliance – from making education more accessible to mitigating global warming and developing tools to better detect cancer.

Schmidt Futures recognizes that talent is created equally, but opportunity is not, which is why the Rise program partners with 30+ global organizations, including NBA Africa, the African Leadership Academy, HALI Network, and BUILD Nigeria, to scour the globe to find brilliant young people who are passionate about building a better world.

Over the last two years, a total of 11 Nigerian students have been selected as Rise Global Winners. Their projects include Starting an international NGO to educate the public and solve pressing social issues, including gender equality and gender laws in Nigeria; developing a program that offers teacher training programs, a student-centred curriculum as well as internship opportunities for students to receive quality computer science education in public and private schools; building robotics to automate tasks; and increasing access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for Nigerian girls, among others.

Speaking on this, Ms Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of the Schmidt Family Foundation, noted that the body had been impressed by the optimism, initiative and curiosity of the young people in the growing Rise community.

She continued, “We are excited to continue expanding this network with the 2023 cohort and can’t wait to see what these talented teens can accomplish when they work together in service for others.”

On his part, Mr Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures, added, “We look for hidden brilliance, in whatever form it takes, wherever it is in the world. There are so many extraordinary people who could do so much more to make the world better if they only could find opportunity — and each other.  We hope to make the longest bet we can imagine on exceptional talent with perseverance, integrity, and care for others.”

“We know that amazing things happen when talented people from different backgrounds are brought together and given opportunities to study, collaborate, and innovate,” said Ms Elizabeth Kiss, CEO of the Rhodes Trust. “Rise is an extraordinary opportunity for people from every corner of the world to embark on a lifelong journey of service and impact. Wherever you are, we encourage you to apply. You only know what you can achieve when you try.”

Rise Global Winners will receive individualized and flexible support to achieve their goals as they work to serve others. The programme is designed to encourage a lifetime of service to develop innovative solutions to solve society’s hard problems. That’s why Rise provides all applicants, regardless of Winner status, with access to its global network, free online courses, and curated opportunities from partners.

All Rise Global Winners will receive the following benefits upon selection – A fully-funded, three-week residential summit with other members of the Rise Global Winner cohort, access to the Rise Global Winners network to connect on common interests, make service commitments, launch enterprises, and collaborate, and counselling and career support.

Others include access to specialized programs, courses, and other opportunities through Rise partners, a four-year, post-secondary scholarship at any accredited university, including tuition and a living stipend, based on need and where not already covered by financial aid as well as a technology package, such as a laptop or tablet, to be determined annually.

In addition, all Rise Global Winners can apply for other benefits which may include partner networks, funding opportunities, and scholarship funds for a graduate degree.

To apply: The online applications are open on the Rise website and are available until January 25, 2023, at 16:59 GMT. For applicants without access to mobile technology, Rise works with its partners on the ground to offer alternative pathways through paper applications.

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