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Astronaut to judge at students competition

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By monitor reporter

Posted  Friday, December 20  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Chance. Every year, young people from across Africa are given a chance to win prizes for different aptitudes.


Following the success of the national judging of this year’s entries to the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat announce that the international jury meeting of this pan-African schools competition will be held in Ghana on February 5, 2014.
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.

Continent of contradictions
“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 Math and Science. As a company born and bred in Africa, we recognise 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 is needed are world-class scientists, engineers and businesses with skills to take the continent to the next level of innovation,” said Nico Meyer, CEO of MultiChoice Africa.
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 thinkers.”
Accra was selected 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.

Africa’s brightest
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 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 well looked after.”