The JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) program honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission, and they serve as stellar examples of entrepreneurial spirit and ethical leadership. Whether through a business, scientific endeavors or their impact on society, these enterprising young leaders turn challenges into opportunities on a local and global level. The final ten TOYP nominees will be honored during the 2022 JCI World Congress.
Narrowing the 2022 JCI TOYP top twenty finalists to the final ten honorees is done by both public voting, and an esteemed panel of judges, which was comprised of 2022 JCI President Argenis Angulo, BNI Chairman and CEO Graham Weihmiller, CEO of Flamingo Chicks and JCI Ambassador Katherine Sparkes and ICC World Chambers Federation Chair and President of Bogota Chamber of Commerce Nicolas Uribe. Although the competition was fierce between the 20 highly qualified front-runners, eventually ten very worthy leaders took the lead. From medical innovation to personal improvement, each winner has displayed that they are truly worthy of this prestigious award.
Each of these inspiring TOYPs will now serve as an official brand ambassador for JCI. As they continue to overcome unique challenges, they not only bring awareness to their own personal goals but shine a spotlight on the JCI mission as well, thanks to their thorough understanding of JCI’s goals to develop enterprising young leaders for this fast-changing world through the Four Areas of Opportunity. Their mission will be, over the course of the next 12 months, to use their aura and networks to enhance JCI’s brand awareness and visibility, recruit new members, motivate existing ones and open doors to new corporate partners.
JCI South Africa
Personal Improvement and/or Accomplishment
Elma Akob is a young and vibrant lady who strives for excellence in all spheres of life. At 23 years old, she is a three-time graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce with Law degree, a Communication Management Honors degree and a Masters degree in Strategic Business Management. As an award-winning global speaker and TEDx speaker, Elma has made it her mission to equip the youth of Africa with the voices they need to amplify their ideas.
She believes that while being the first is impressive, real impact is made when you ensure you are not the last by empowering others to rise with you. This is why she mentors young girls all around the continent through the Amazon Leadership Initiative, using the power of representation to motivate, empower and inspire. With her passion for communication, Elma founded her company, Elevate Africa, which is rooted in the motto of “Passing on the gift” of public speaking.
Through this, Elma equips dreamers and visionaries with the necessary communication and socialization skills to reach their full potential to speak, and speak with confidence. Her company recently won the Top Youth Owned Education Brand in South Africa. As a voice over artist who records for the likes of Disney and Netflix, Elma wants young girls like herself to believe that anything is possible if you “Dare to Dream.” This was the title of her speech at the United Nations Headquarters in 2016 where she received a standing ovation, and it is still her mantra today.
JCI Hong Kong
Ricky Chiu is driven by his passion to serve humanity. Born in Hong Kong and trained in the United States, Ricky has developed proprietary technologies that significantly improve the speed and accuracy of diagnostic testing, thus enabling much earlier detection of cancers and infectious diseases. This was put to good use with COVID-19 rapid antigen tests, which Ricky’s company pioneered the use of in Hong Kong. This quickly became an important tool in combating the coronavirus early during the pandemic.
Ricky is among the few entrepreneurs who has received recognition in both the East and West. He has received funding from world-renowned institutions such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and FDA approval for his diagnostic tools. His diagnostic technology has also been designated as “Key Technology” by the Chinese government. His achievements position him as a changemaker who uniquely straddles both worlds. His ability to stimulate East-West dialogue in the biotechnological field is a critical asset the future requires.
Today, Ricky’s company is focused on commercializing the tools that help in the early detection of cancer. If successful, this will shift the paradigm in public health towards prevention and will reduce preventable deaths. Outside of work, Ricky is an adjunct associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Biomedical Sciences, lending his time to cultivate a new generation of biotechnology and healthcare talent. His personal mission is to help people live healthier lives, and he believes that the benefits of scientific innovation should transcend geographic borders.
Scientific and/or Technological Development
Kerem is the inventor and creator of the ENLIL project. He is a civil engineer, and has the ability to design new products thanks to his multidisciplinary background. Since Kerem is also interested in history, he named his project ENLIL, after the Sumerian god of lightning. He wants to build the cities of the future using the legacy of the past.
Kerem not only wants to develop technology for today’s world, but also wants to shape the future with his own technology. While building this future, he aims to create a supportive structure that young people can take as an example, all while keeping environmental concerns and ethical values above everything else.
Kerem, whose dream since childhood was to develop technology, took his project one step further. The business idea may have been revolutionary, but it was not enough. That’s why Kerem invented a new method and created the world’s first mass produced wind turbine blades, making it possible to produce blades 10 times cheaper and 50 times faster than existing systems. Kerem, who won many awards in the global arena and entered the most prestigious Science and Business lists many times including the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2020 list in the category Manufacturing & Industry Creating the products, methods, and materials of tomorrow. Karem feels that renewable energy is not a luxury, it is a responsibility. Setting off with his motto, Kerem created a revolution in the industry with a wind turbine that everyone can access easily and cheaply.
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment
At age 18, Amir Fehri is one of the youngest medical school students in France. He is also one of the youngest ambassadors ever having presented his credentials at the age of 15 years old to the President of the Republic of Tunisia.
He has already published six books, one of which, Harcèlement, is a worldwide bestseller autobiography about school bullying. Amir wrote his first book when he was seven years old and he received more than 28 international prizes in literature such as the Arts And Letters of France Prize.
Having given the royalties of his books to build schools in Tunisia, Amir is also currently working hard to open the first international school in the refugee camps in Mosul, Iraq, with the United Nations. This school will give children access to the official educational programs of different countries of the European Union and the MENA region.
Through his work, Amir has achieved a reputation and is renowned worldwide, making many international television appearances to talk about his unique experiences with the youths he has met including refugee children, bullied students, people with autism, orphans, youths with disabilities and children in prisons and correctional centers.
Amir also fluently speaks eight languages which has allowed him to communicate with the most important leaders of the planet. For example, French President Emmanuel Macron asked him to fly with him on board the Presidential aircraft as a member of the Official Delegation of the Presidency of the Republic of France to the International Summit of Francophonie in Armenia when he was twelve.
Amir wants to do his best, as a young Tunisian, Arab, African and youth of the world, to allow his voice to be a symbol of tolerance in a tense world. For Amir, education is the key!
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment
Firat Güder is a scientist, innovator and educator with a limitless imagination, passion and ambition to tackle difficult global problems. He has made it his mission to train young scientists and develop technologies that address challenges related to animal and human health, food systems and the environment.
Firat studied computer and microsystems engineering, and has worked with some of the most prominent scientists and innovators of our time at institutions such as the University of Freiburg and Harvard University before joining the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London as a professor.
In addition to his scholarly activities, Firat is deeply interested in translation of his research to further accelerate delivery of societal impact; he has launched multiple award-winning startups and also works closely with industry partners to translate his research. As a pioneering expert and thought leader, Firat is routinely invited to give lectures at international meetings and conferences with more than 60 scientific seminars given worldwide including plenary and keynote lectures. Firat has received many awards, recognitions and fellowships: ACS Sensors named Firat a “Rising Star in Sensing.” Firat has also received the Imperial College President’s Award for Excellence in Research, Imperial College President’s Award in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of New Brunswick Young Alumni Achievement Award, Tom West Analytical Fellowship and German Research Foundation International Fellowship. Firat has also raised over 15 million USD for new research and training programs to create positive change and empower the next generation.
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment
Dania Humaidan has always been passionate about the use of artificial intelligence to enhance human life. Coming from the small city of Swaida, Syria, Dania has made it her mission to work at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence applications in health. She focuses on making medical services more advanced while at the same time accessible to countries with limited medical personnel.
Dania studied medicine and computer science simultaneously and was the first Syrian to join the Max Planck International Research School for Intelligent Systems in Germany.
Working in a field where women are still underrepresented, Dania has worked on encouraging the participation of women in the technological field. She has been an active member of the Women in Machine Learning and Women Techmakers communities, which hold workshops and events to support women in this field and increase their participation in international conferences. Meanwhile, given her interdisciplinary work on machine learning applications in health, especially neurological diseases, she has given many local and international talks and has been acting as a mentor to many students, physicians and scientists who would like to follow the same path. Dania believes in the power of science, and that the future will be driven by interdisciplinary research promoting artificial intelligence-based healthcare, in which everyone should have an opportunity and be encouraged to participate. She is determined to expand her mentorship circle and continue her efforts to positively affect the world.
Laura Koivusalo is a scientist and a startup entrepreneur who aims to cure corneal blindness using human stem cells with her company StemSight. Laura always had a vision of making an impact, one she feared could not be made with scientific research alone.
Laura obtained her Doctor of Science in Technology from Professor Skottman’s Eye Group at Tampere University, Finland, where she developed and tested new biomaterials for cell therapy of the cornea. Her thesis work resulted in three invention disclosures and the award for the Best Doctor of Science Thesis of the year in the faculty of Medicine and Health Technology in Tampere University.
Towards the end of her doctoral thesis, Laura started to lead the commercialization efforts of the research groups’ technology for manufacturing cell therapy for blindness. She immediately fell in love with the challenge and started to test her abilities in business pitching. She has won several national and international pitching competitions and represented Finland in the global Falling Walls Lab pitching competition in 2019.
In 2021, while still on maternity leave with her firstborn, Laura and three of her research colleagues founded the company StemSight together and negotiated the company’s first seed investment. StemSight’s all-female founding team is still a rarity in biotech startups. As the CEO of StemSight, Laura has been able to inspire and mentor other aspiring startup entrepreneurs. She advocates for equal opportunities in the startup ecosystem, participating in the European Female Founders Forum working group at the EU Commissioner’s request.
Lim Sai Seong
Scientific and/or Technological Development
Lim Sai Seong believes that science and technology is the way to move forward globally and increase national productivity, optimize energy efficiency, develop sustainable growth and save human lives all while boosting the country’s economy at the same time.
Sai Seong is the Executive Director of QAV Group, a Testing Laboratory with ILAC-MRA whose results are recognized in over 80 countries worldwide. He certifies materials and products internationally with a laboratory spanning approximately 200,000 square feet and has hundreds of professionals under his employment. He performed niche and governed testing such as environmental, mechanical, electrical safety, electromagnetic compliance, energy efficiency and chemical testing. He also provides failure analysis, military testing and more for approvals of automotives, robotics, household appliances, military defense systems, solar systems, electric vehicles and aerospace products.
He is an active national expert in standardization of TIC and consumer rights. Internationally he is the expert for numerous testing standards in various commissions such as IEC, CIE , ISO and others. He was awarded the IEC Young Professional in 2018 and recognized as a Professional Technologist in 2020.
He is in several industry NGOs as an EXCO member, actively working on developing National Policies, UN Sustainable Development Goals, CSRs and also working on world harmonization of testing standards with the aim of saving human lives and protecting the planet.
Sai Seong believes that his insights and his ethical character and ingenuity will create positive developments for the world economy, human quality of life and product reliability while at the same time empowering the next generation and technology development globally.
JCI South Africa
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment
Zakithi has always held a deep passion for science and people, a passion that eventually led her to research for an HIV cure. After receiving her Master of Medical Science cum laude, she decided to pursue her doctoral studies and continued to contribute to important HIV research. Being a young black woman that has excelled in a field where black women are grossly underrepresented, she has made it her mission to change the face of science.
As a testament to her passion for bringing science to people, Zakithi has won several science communication competitions. Zakithi has also taken her research to the international stage and has presented her findings in Canada and Belgium and most recently virtually presented at the AIDS 2022 conference. In 2021 she was named by global initiative Inspiring Fifty as an inspiring woman in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Known as BlackGirlScientist on YouTube, Zakithi is making a mark not in fashion or pop culture, but instead in the vital field of science by sharing her journey and encouraging others to join her. She uses this platform to empower the next generation of young female scientists and to inspire them to pursue a career in STEM, further their studies and create a successful personal journey. Zakithi dedicates her time to being a mentor for other young scientists starting in the field and plans to establish an organization that will help young people on their journeys in various STEM fields. Instead of waiting for change, Zakithi has stepped forward as an active leader and continues to leave her mark as a driver of change in the STEM sector.
Wei Lun Sin
Dr. Wei Lun Sin is an inspirational figure adored by many in the field of medicine. Wei, inheriting his expertise in Traditional Chinese Medicine from his ancestors, has also obtained his Masters in Orthopedic and completed his PhD in Health Sciences. He has also been appointed as an adjunct professor to further share his knowledge and experience to educate and contribute to society. Wei is the representative of the Osteopathic Medical Field for Malaysia on various international platforms.
Wei exemplifies the true value of an osteopathic doctor, establishing a synchronized practice among his medical branches, namely Orthopedic, Chiropractic, Traditional Chinese Medicine (Osteopathy & Acupuncture) and Physiotherapy. He has enhanced patient’s recovery as a pioneer of synergizing Western, Traditional and Improved Techniques and blending the use of traditional medicine with modern technologies. During COVID-19, Wei continued to help the public despite lockdowns and published more than 20 episodes of “Talk Sin Webinar,” a webinar that provided simple and immediate solutions to musculoskeletal health.
His approach in the medical field has healed, relieved pain and promoted the health of over 100,000 patients within the past five years. By collaborating with local NGOs and voluntary services, Wei has dedicated his skills effortlessly in providing the needy with complementary treatments. Additionally, more than 10,000 of in-house SPINEBO orthopedic pillows were donated to hospitals in China and charity homes in Malaysia. Dr. Wei Lun Sin continues to create new innovations in medicine and gives hope to many sick patients around the world.