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Press Release

Schmidt Futures and Rhodes Trust Announce Second Cohort of Rise Global Winners: One Hundred Brilliant 15- to 17-Year-Olds Supported with Opportunity To Serve Others for Life

Global Program Expands its Community of Next-Generation Leaders to 22 New Countries


NEW YORK, September 22, 2022 —Today, Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, announced the second cohort of 100 Rise Global Winners. Rise finds brilliant people who need opportunity and supports them for life as they work to serve others. It is the flagship program of Schmidt Futures and the anchor of a broader $1 billion philanthropic commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to talent development across their initiatives. Founded in 2019, Rise works with dozens of global partners—from schools to businesses to local governments—in identifying and supporting talented young people aged 15-17 in communities throughout the world.

Our 2022 Rise Global Winners include youth aiming to promote literacy among underprivileged children; predict the effect of Alzheimer's drugs using bioinformatics; create a sustainable gummy vitamin that combats anemia; educate communities on mental health stigmas and many more. With over 22 new countries represented this year, the global program continues to further expand its network with a broader range of talented young leaders from diverse backgrounds, including applicants from over 170 countries.

Schmidt Futures' mission is to bet early on exceptional people making the world better. Betting on young people between the ages of 15-17 and potentially staying with them for life, Rise is both the earliest and the longest bet on talent in Schmidt Futures' portfolio.

“We are looking for extraordinarily bright people everywhere because genius can have an outsized impact on improving the world when applied to its hardest problems,” said Eric Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “Building a network of brilliant young people who want to make the world better is a key goal of Rise. Development in today’s world depends on people working together.”

“Today’s announcement of the Rise winners is not the conclusion of a process, but rather the starting point for the young people in the program. They will have continuing opportunities to change the world for the better as they continue their education and find ways to collaborate,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation. “We are counting on them to become future leaders, using their collective gifts to help solve the world’s most challenging problems.”

Rise remains intentionally broad both in the selection of talent and in their projects to help unveil hidden brilliance, in whatever form it takes, wherever it is in the world. The program further prides itself in recognizing brilliance with unique perspectives and across various focus areas, skills, and issues. Since its inception, Rise has welcomed over 150,000 people from over 170 countries to its community, and has selected 200 winners from 69 countries of origin. From over 120,000 registrants, the 2022 Winners were selected after a rigorous application process which included a peer and expert review of the service projects developed by each applicant, formal assessments of talent, and group interviews. The 2022 Global Winners stood out not only for their impactful projects spanning from medical innovation to mental health and education but also for their strength in overcoming adversity. 

As a result of global program growth in year 2, Schmidt Futures and The Rhodes Trust are proud to welcome the program’s first Winners from Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar (Burma), Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tunisia, and Vietnam. Examples of the 2022 Rise Global Winners include:

  • Phuc (James) Chau Nguyen (Vietnam): Utilized microfluidics to prototype a cancer-detecting toothbrush, gaining a start-up’s investment and bioinformatics to model Universal CAR-T cells, treating various cancers.

  • Olga Kuzmich (Belarus): Predicted the effect of a potential drug against Alzheimer's disease using bioinformatics by calculating differential expression of genes and predicting alterations in cells.

  • Kambiré Cyé Antonio Angelberg (Burkina Faso): Created an organization called CMath, leading a group of students to organize the national mathematics and physics olympiads in his country. 

  • Bouchra Geagea (Lebanon): Implemented green roofs to educate her community on the role of citizens in mitigating global warming and showcase how small actions can have a considerable impact.

  • Augustė Tumaitė (Lithuania): Created “Desti”, a platform to reduce mental health stigmas by providing people easy access to education and professional help to reduce suicide rates.

  • Renee Wang (USA): Created RUBIX, a prefabricated, deconstructable modular tiny home unit for the unhoused that offers an independent, dignified, affordable, and sustainable alternative to shelters. 

The full list of winners can be found at www.risefortheworld.org/global-winners

"We believe that the answers to the world's toughest problems lie in the imagination of the world's brightest minds,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “Rise is an integral part of our mission to create the best, largest, and most enduring pipeline of exceptional talent globally and match it to opportunities to serve others for life.”

“Selecting 100 Global Winners from such a deep pool of brilliant young people was quite a challenge, and we are very grateful to all of our partners who helped in the selection process,” said Dr Elizabeth Kiss, Warden of Rhodes House in Oxford and Chief Executive of the Rhodes Trust. “Our newest Rise winners come from every corner of the globe, and we can’t wait to bring them together – and then invest in their lifelong journeys to serve their communities and build a better world.

Everyone who applies to Rise joins a global community and gains access to opportunities from partners in at least 40 countries across the world. The latest Rise Global Winners receive additional personalized support including need-based scholarships, mentorship, career development opportunities, potential funding for future ventures, technology packages, and more, to empower them to achieve their goals as they work to serve others. 

Applications for the next class will open in October 2022. For more information about how to apply, visit https://www.risefortheworld.org/apply-to-rise.

About Rise

Rise is a program that finds brilliant people who need opportunity and supports them for life as they work to serve others. The program starts at ages 15–17 and offers benefits including scholarships, mentorship, access to career development opportunities, funding and more as Global Winners work toward solving humanity’s most pressing problems. For more information about Rise, visit www.risefortheworld.org

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talented people together in networks to prove out their ideas and solve hard problems in science and society. To learn more about our method and the diverse types of capital and tools that we deploy, visit https://www.schmidtfutures.com

About The Rhodes Trust

The Rhodes Trust, based at the University of Oxford, builds a better world through global fellowship programmes that develop and connect compassionate, innovative, and public-spirited people committed to solving humanity’s challenges. Our flagship programme, established in 1903, is the Rhodes Scholarship, the world’s pre-eminent graduate scholarship. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, education, the arts, NGOs, commerce, research and other sectors. They are well known advocates for expanded social justice, and have advanced the frontiers of science and medicine.

For more information about Rise, visit www.risefortheworld.org