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Blog: The Gifted Citizen programme


  • Global
  • Social innovation

Each year the Gifted Citizen Prize is given to the best social entrepreneurship project from around the world that has the ability to benefit 10 million people over the next six years.

This international prize honors the passion of those that seek to develop real solutions to humanity’s most pressing issues. The prize is awarded at the Ciudad de las Ideas festival, the largest convention of bright minds in Latin America which takes place annually in Puebla, Mexico. Each year around 30 finalists are selected to attend Ciudad de las Ideas and compete for the $100,000 USD prize, which is granted by Comex. The finalists are called Gifted Citizens and this community is an extraordinary group of people who are working in the areas of scientific innovation, technological invention, educational, ecological and social transformation, sustainable economic development, defense and promotion of human cultural and social rights and art and culture.

Last year applications were received from 70 countries and following scrutiny by several judging panels, 33 projects were chosen. The successful projects include Shubhendu Sharma, created by the founder of Afforest, which can create natural forests that are 30 times denser and grow 10 times faster than the normal growth rate of trees, resulting in a forest which is as mature as a 100 year old forest in just 10 years; to Diana Yousef, who on top of a brilliant academic trajectory, is the co-founder and CEO of Change:Water, a water innovation accelerator developing transformative water solutions for the needs and constraints of developing countries; to our Gifted Citizen Prize 2014 winner, Andrew Bastawrous, an ophthalmologic surgeon and the founder of PEEK, a Portable Eye Examination Kit, which diagnoses eye diseases and simplifies the management and monitoring of the treatment of patients anywhere in the world.

These outstanding social entrepreneurs, and the myriad of projects that have come from around the world, demonstrate the accelerated growth of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem globally and the new possibilities that are being enhanced by technology. These entrepreneurs exemplify the richness of the projects that Gifted Citizen receives, and the movement for social change that is benefiting thousands and even millions of people.

The Call for Submissions for the 2015 Gifted Citizen prize is now open – for more information visit the CDI website. As well as being considered for the prize, the applicants of the 100 best projects will be recommended for fast-track RSA Fellowship.

Eidi Cruz-Valdivieso has been leading the Gifted Citizen programme for the last two and a half years and is RSA Connector for Mexico.

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