Dr Freeman Osonuga, 30, from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State has been shortlisted with 29 other extraordinary young men and women from around the globe to compete for a coveted distinction as the Rising Star of the world.
Osonuga, a Medicine and Surgery graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University, was selected through the Rising Star programme launched at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland.
The programme invites both One Young World Ambassadors and outstanding members of the public aged 18 to 35 years to nominate themselves to compete with others for the space trip of a lifetime.
If he wins as the Rising Star of the world in Bangkok, Thailand, he will not only embark on a once in a lifetime flight into space as the first Nigerian and first black African to fly to space, but will also be offered a three-year management contract with the organisers.
Osonuga, founder & Executive Director of Heal The World Foundation Nigeria, plans to use his adventure as the world’s Rising Star to initiate a global climate care advocacy programme to save the planet Earth.
The value of the space flight prize for the global Rising Star is over $100,000, the organizers said and the winner will fly by XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx Spacecraft to experience the world from a completely new perspective.
The sponsors of the programme, a leading London-based talent agency, Kruger Cowne, and its partners, One Young World, a pre-eminent global forum for young leaders and Spaceship Earth Grants announced the shortlist this week.
According to them, the Rising Star Programme which was launched at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland, aims to catapult one undiscovered leader into space – and into the global spotlight.
They explained that the shortlist is made up of extraordinary individuals from across the world, each has his own inspiring, unique story and 30-year-old Freeman Osonuga from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State is honoured to be among the thirty.
“If a young person from a poor and disadvantaged background like me can be among the 30 shortlisted finalists and eventually go to space, truly, nothing is impossible to those that believe.
“With faith, hope and perseverance, every young person can fulfil his dreams irrespective of colour, tribe, nation, sex, background and ethnicity,” the statement quoted Osonuga as saying.
The rest of the statement reads:
The son of a late (deceased) driver and petty trader, Freeman applied to the programme in the hopes of raising awareness on the impact that global warming is having on the planet. By leading discussion on a global scale, he plans to use his adventure as a Rising Star to initiate a Global Climate Care Advocacy Programme.
With candidates from across the globe, the champion of the programme will travel by
XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx® Spacecraft and experience the world from a completely new perspective, subsequently inspiring new insight on issues relating to the global population.
One man who knows all too well the impact of such a journey is celebrated astronaut Ron Garan, who champions the “Orbital Perspective”: “Seeing our planet from the vantage point of space provides an undeniable perspective that each and every one of us is riding through the Universe together on this spaceship we call Earth”, finalist judge for the Rising Star Programme, Ron Garan.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of history’s boldest adventurers, Freeman’s achievements already includes being named as a WIRED 2015 Innovation Fellow, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and a One Young World Ambassador. More poignantly, Freeman recently completed a 6-month medical humanitarian mission to Sierra Leone as part of African Union’s Ebola Response Team and as such, became a recipient of Meritorious Service Award from President Bai Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone. He is a 2014 TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year and one of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Young Persons In Nigeria. “Our chosen 30 represent the epitome of hope, leadership and talent. Spanning countries and continents, these hopefuls strive to make a difference in the world and provide a voice for those who wish to join the debate on a global scale. From societal and environmental issues, to politics and business, each and every one of our shortlist dreams of inspiring a global audience and influencing change,” says Mark Cowne, CEO of Kruger Cowne.
With the value of the space trip prize over $100,000, 3 impressive finalists chosen from the final 30 will be flown to Bangkok in November to attend the One Young World Summit 2015. Here, they will take to the stage in front of an audience of 1,300 delegates and a panel of esteemed global business and social icons to deliver an inspirational 10-15 minute keynote on a topic of their choice. The established panel, which includes influential figures from the world of entertainment, business and media such as Sir Bob Geldof, Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, David Jones, Fatima Bhutto and acclaimed astronaut Ron Garan, will deliberate before announcing on stage their chosen Rising Star.
With astronauts, global leaders and entrepreneurs from the Kruger Cowne roster offering mentorship, the chosen young leader will be managed and positioned to develop powerful connections and given a platform to engage with a global audience and develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.