The 2013 entries have been assessed by the national juries across 42 countries and the national winners for both categories have been nominated.
These national winners will then compete before the international jury, led by former Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, which will decide on the overall winners on February 5th, 2014 in Accra, Ghana. The overall winners in the Essay and poster categories will be announced at a Gala Awards event on the same day.
This year’s jury will be chaired by the Italian ESA astronaut, Paolo Nespoli who undertook his first flight into space in 2007 on the Discovery Space Shuttle before spending over five months in space aboard the International Space Station where he was responsible for a range of scientific and technological experiments and educational activities.
“Africa is by far still a continent of contradictions with pockets of world-class innovation co-existing with a lack of resources and skills, particularly in fields which require maths and science,” said Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice Africa. “As a company born and bred in Africa, MultiChoice recognizes that technology will be one of the key drivers of the continent’s growth story and that Africans need an education system that will produce young people who are creative and innovative thinkers who can think out of the box. What are needed are world-class scientists, engineers and businesses with skills to take the continent to the next level of innovation.”
Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat Communications, added: “Now in its third year, the DSTV Eutelsat Star Awards shine a spotlight on how scientific principles can be applied to Africa’s development. They enable high-school students to reflect on the use of technology and underscore the importance of developing a new generation of technologically-savvy Africans who will further transform their continent. We look forward to the outcome of who will come tops in the search for Africa’s next generation of thinkers.”
MultiChoice and Eutelsat selected Accra as the host city for this year’s judging and awards ceremony, following Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam for the first and second editions of the event. Ghana has made significant progress towards attaining its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the eradication of extreme poverty, universal primary education, promotion of gender equality, empowerment of women, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Equally, as something to celebrate, Ghana is preparing for its third FIFA World Cup in succession, having qualified again for one of the world’s most watched sports competitions, to be held in Brazil in 2014.
Other events will be organized around the adjudication and Gala Awards event, including an Outreach lecture for Secondary Schools held at the University of Ghana Business School as well as a cocktail with the Association of Ghanaian Industries and Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications.
Two months before Africa’s brightest stars battle it out in Ghana for the coveted prizes, which for the poster winner is a trip for two to visit Eutelsat’s headquarters in Paris and for the essay a visit to see a rocket take off into space, Paolo Nespoli encourages Africa’s youth to reach for their dreams: “You have to make your dreams real and education is key to dreams becoming reality. Looking at planet earth from space is an exhilarating experience – it motivates you to overcome barriers and all odds to travel the world. You realise that the earth is small and fragile and that it needs to be cared for and nurtured.”
DStv Eutelsat Star Awards – creating space for African Ideas