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 young active citizens turn challenges into opportunities on a local and global level. The final ten TOYP nominees will be honored during the 2021 JCI World Congress.
Narrowing the 2021 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 2021 JCI President Ryubun Kojima, BNI Chairman and CEO Graham Weihmiller, JCI Ambassador Katherine Sparkes and Brainswork GmbH Chief Visionary Officer Sven Damm. 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.
Make sure to keep on the lookout for 2021 JCI World Congress registration soon so that you can witness their official recognition at the online awards ceremony!
Dr. Chadi Khatib is a Syrian pharmacist who holds a PhD in Medical Science History and Traditional Medicine. He’s a doctoral student in Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Plants. Among his achievements, he holds 11 patents, serves as the Head of the Syrian Society of Complementary Medicine and is a member of the Syrian Pharmacist Association. He is a role model for anyone who aspires to scientific achievements, and he has displayed an overwhelming ambition for his field of research. Dr. Chadi graduated from Aleppo University in 2003, received his first postgraduate degree in 2004, his second postgraduate diploma in 2006, his first Master’s Degree in 2010 and his second masters degree in 2018.
He received his Syrian pharmacist board certificate from the Syrian Commission for Medical Specialties and the Syrian Ministry of Health, specializing in drugs and medicinal plants in 2019. He is about to get his second PhD in drugs and medical plants from Damascus University. Dr. Chadi’s interest in medicinal herbs was kindled early on by the ancient manuscripts of Arab scholars who excelled in pharmacology and medicine. Inspired by these scholars, Chadi has focused on developing natural Syrian herbal and cosmetic products, eventually leading to his 11 patents.
What’s more, Dr. Chadi has not held on to this knowledge, but works hard to share this gathered expertise internationally. He has served as a lecturer in the pharmaceutical scientific conference accompanying the meeting of the executive office of the Arab Pharmacists Union in Movenpick-Cairo, Egypt in 2017, and has spoken at other conferences in Tunis, Dubai and Paris.
From 2015 to 2019, he was the head of the scientific committee at the Syrian Pharmacist Association where he organized several local, regional and international scientific conferences supporting creativity and innovation in the field of pharmacy and drug industry. He was awarded a gold medal in the 8th International Exhibition of Innovations for China for his invention to treat Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, served as a member of the IFIA General assembly in 2018, was awarded the Shield of Appreciation from the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and the University of Babylon in 2020 and served as an international jury member at the 2nd Beirut International Innovation Show in 2021. Dr. Chadi has authored many scientific publications in the field of phytotherapy, is a current member of Everest International of Invention and many more accomplishments.
Through innovation and careful attention to his own culture, Dr. Chadi has proven to be a dedicated young leader that can overcome many different challenges.
Chee Sian Kuan
Chee Sian Kuan’s research in biomedicine has led to important revelations about the nature of disease and preventative care that have aided the health response in Asia during the covid-19 crisis and beyond.
Dr. Kuan obtained his Bachelor of Health Science and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Science Malaysia, where he made the dean’s list and graduated with honors. His doctoral study focused on human ethanolamine and choline kinase – proteins that play a key role in phospholipid metabolism and are involved in cancer pathways. Dr. Kuan’s research work has been presented and shared with the scientific community in many conferences and webinars. One of his works on genome analysis of Bipolaris papendorfii was awarded with the Best Poster Presentation Award at the Infections 2015 Conference.
Throughout his career, Dr. Kuan has developed various molecular diagnostic platforms for illnesses and continues to evaluate the most effective models for treatment. His areas of expertise include syndromic panel-based testing, genetic panels that can influence predictive medicine, precision medicine, and personalized medicine, among others. His works are widely published in international peer-reviewed journals and cited by many. This information serves as a guide for medical practitioners and laboratory operators in selecting the most suitable technique for diagnostic purposes.
In 2016, Kuan founded NeoGenix Laboratoire, a laboratory providing the highest quality molecular diagnostic tests. NeoGenix was selected as one of only five companies in Malaysia to sign an MoU with the BD Summit in Doha, Qatar as collaborative partner for the healthcare sector in the Middle East.
NeoGenix was awarded by the Ministry of Health in Malaysia for providing Covid-19 PCR tests to 59 government hospitals in Malaysia during the early stage of the pandemic in 2020. Kuan also led the team that provided the first PCR tests from a private laboratory in the country. NeoGenix has recently landed a contract with Pure Health Medical Supplies L.L.C. to screen all travelers from Malaysia to the United Arab Emirates for Covid-19. The lab is currently working with the Johor state government to help with Covid-19 screening and assisting with plans to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border. NeoGenix is collaborating with MaRii and RZAC ImmuneSAFE Sdn Bhd to provide antibody testing to assist people in making informed clinical decisions about their health and help verify the effectiveness of vaccine protection.
Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishments
Christopher is an entrepreneur and environmental activist who always focuses on social contribution. During his university studies, he was the Vice President of the Air and Waste Management Association student chapter. In 2020, he led two beach cleanup events with over 65 volunteers in five different Lebanese areas. In collaboration with Empower, a company in Norway, and as a response to the crashing Lebanese economy and sanitary crisis, they made 400 USD from selling plastics collected from the cleanups and donated the money as medicine to the elderly.
Despite economic challenges, Christopher was able to start a recycling business with the municipalities in Lebanon. In January 2020, working with three municipalities and over 750 households, he invested in a small waste sorting facility and provided door-to-door waste collection service for over a year. However, when it became clear that the current situation and COVID-19 pandemic would make this venture a very challenging one, Christopher set out to develop a new business that was scalable.
Through automating many activities within the waste management sector with AI software, Christopher knew he could operate at better margins and run a more optimized facility. However, it would be too costly to pay for someone else to develop the software, so instead Christopher learned the programming himself, developed a proof of concept and led a team through Berytech (an accelerator for Lebanese startups). After adapting to many challenges, his concept – Diwama – gained international recognition and traction, and now it is in the top eight startups in the final phase at the Berytech Accelerator, and it has been supported and funded by various organizations around the world such as Plug and Play, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Veolia Middle East Spark Accelerator, Makesense, Ma’an Social Incubator, Astrolabs, Global Incubator Network in Austria, and many others.
Personal Improvement and/or Accomplishment
Edmund has been a hard-working learner and he has never stopped acquiring knowledge in several fields to enrich himself. Born to an ordinary family in Melaka, had his childhood turn towards a path of difficulty at the tender age of 10 when he was diagnosed with non-congenital physical disorder. He suffered from swelling in his left wrist and also he dealt with a bacterial infection in blood and this caused abscesses and pus to develop on his body. He was allergic to many foods and experienced severe pain.
In 2008, Edmund’s father declared bankruptcy and their textile factory closed down. In order to start another company, his parents use Edmund’s name to obtain a bank loan. The atmosphere at home was pressing and tense. Edmund decided it was time to take his life into his own hands, despite his painful disabilities. He went on to pursue numerology, NLP, social science, psychology, and emotional intelligence. Holding a Bachelor in Business and Marketing, Edmund worked as Marketing Manager for Adonis Beauty. During that single year, Edmund acquired knowledge in the supplement and skin care industry that brought him lucrative income in his future years. He understood that to build a strong business empire, he needs to work the entire business ecosystem in a way where every part of the system is linked and supports each other.
Edmund has since overcome the physical challenges, and worked his way to be a serial entrepreneur with a strong and persistent mindset, reaching 200,000 people directly and millions of people indirectly.
Appointed as Chief Marketing Officer of ZGC in Malaysia, Edmund brought in investors from China, to seed and nurture potential businesses in Malaysia. In 2019, he brought in more than 60 Million USD of seeding funds for several businesses. He also owns the OEM Manufacturing for Food and Nutritional Products, a manufacturing arm that has developed more than 2,000 products for various renowned brands sold in South East Asia. And even beyond that, one of his brightest accomplishments is innovating LIFECO technology, a company that applies the positive selection marker genes responsible for cell repairing into the Ageing-Related Gene (ARG) clusters, which cause ageing in human body, to delay or stop the expression of ARG. Preserving the biodiversity in botanical extraction, LIFECO magnifies the benefit of natural plants by extracting the best source of potent phyto-active, and developing sustainable high performance natural ingredients, for dietary supplements and functional food.
He is an extraordinary entrepreneur, and a trendsetter who has innovated LIFECO and successfully led his young and multiracial team through cultivating the right attitude and inspiring them to push beyond boundaries.
Scientific and/or Technological Development
Hansley Noruthun has always been passionate about space and its ability to drive imagination, unite humanity and push the boundaries of the unknown. After all, exploration is part of human nature and Earth remains our home in this journey. Coming from the island of Mauritius, Hansley has made it his mission to transform communities and support developing countries using space science technology and applications.
Despite the lack of opportunities in his home country at that time, Hansley studied bioscience and became the first Mauritian to be awarded a joint scholarship to complete a Space Program by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center.
Over the span of the past decade, Hansley has encouraged the participation of developing countries, specifically targeting youth in Africa, to explore and develop space technology and education in civil society, academia and the private sector.
He has campaigned for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and made it his goal to advocate for quality education and socio-economic growth while addressing global challenges using innovative approaches. His areas of focus include earth observation, disaster management, the blue economy and climate change.
Hansley has recently been appointed to a Program Management position within the Office of the Director for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna. He currently serves as the first elected National Point of Contact (NPoC) of Mauritius for the Space Generation Advisory Council in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications as well as the IAF Emerging Space Leader for the Republic of Mauritius. Most recently, Hansley has been selected as part of the African Space Industry Top 10 Under 30.
With ongoing projects and contributions such as The Great Reset, Space Economy and support for several NGOs, Hansley has reached thousands of young individuals working directly with international organizations and global leaders and engaging more than half of African countries. His work is directly helping raise awareness about current challenges and promoting activities in terms of policy and program discussions by acting as one of the main communication channels between the local community and international network. Hansley rose to prominence as an innovator and multi award-winning Pan-African changemaker in the field of technology and has been named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. Hansley believes in his work and hopes to empower the next generation and continue to create positive change through his contributions globally.
Personal Improvement and/or Accomplishment
Jennifer Canaveral is the first non-hearing architect of the University of Columbia and a beacon of inspiration in her field and beyond. Due to an infection which eventually led to meningitis, she completely lost her hearing at nine months old. Although she cannot hear, Jennifer communicates with great ease, thanks to her mother’s persistence and faith and the education she received at the Institute for Blind and Deaf Children in Cali, Colombia. This nurturing environment led her to master lip reading in three languages and earn a masters degree in urbanism. Her dreams are divided between her projects and endeavors, love for society, motivation to be better and an inexhaustible happiness.
Jennifer is an inspirational entrepreneur, interdisciplinary advisor, and architecture and urban design consultant. She motivates others as a captivating presenter sharing her incredible story in roles such as the Inclusion and Disability Ambassador for Samsung Colombia and Peace Ambassador to the Friends of UNESCO Corporation. Jennifer’s kind spirit is seen in her volunteer work with people of all abilities through her mission to teach lip reading and create a more inclusive world for all.
In her capacity as an architect, Jennifer specializes in public spaces, bicycle paths and accessibility at the Urban Development Institute in Bogotá. She was the first non-hearing speaker honored at TedxBogotá; leader of the “Artists for an Inclusive World” project of the International Day of Disability, has been named an Alumni Shaper by the World Economic Forum community and was the winner of the TOYP 2020 Colombia award.
Her most recent endeavor is to become the first female non-hearing triathlete and she currently spends much of her time dedicated to the discipline required to reach such a lofty goal.
An entrepreneur, artist and leader, Jennifer has conquered more than 35 national and international stages and will continue reaching higher to accomplish her dreams and make the world a more equitable place.
Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishments
A longtime active mentor and advisor for startups in his community, Saleem Najjar started his entrepreneurial journey in Damascus, Syria, with very limited resources. He taught himself how to code, and how to run a business. He’s the founder of Sharqi Shop, a social enterprise that has created job opportunities for over 200 Syrian and Jordanian artisans, allowing them to make a monthly income by selling their products to over 30 countries around the world, reaching as far away as Mexico and Brazil. Sharqi gives those craftspeople the ability to make revenue without the need to worry about logistics, marketing or customer service. Along with his other projects, Sharqi extended the support to help over 1500 Syrian families find decent work opportunities and build small businesses.
Saleem is an entrepreneur, product manager, researcher, and e-commerce director with more than ten years of experience. He has built partnerships with global organizations, and believes that everyone has their own role and responsibility to help each other. He has won numerous awards celebrating entrepreneurship, including the European Youth Award in 2018, the Roadshow Award in 2018, first place in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in 2017, the Techfugees Award in 2016 and Best Established Business in Syria Award in 2010.
Saleem’s curriculums and training materials were used by impactful acceleration programs to train more than 5000 young people and entrepreneurs to improve their skills and knowledge, besides providing them with one to one mentorship sessions to start and run their own business, embodying the JCI creed: “That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise.”
Personal Improvement and/or Accomplishment
Dr. Sinead Kane is a Keynote Speaker, double PhD doctorate, double Guinness World Record holder, lecturer on disability law, policy and human rights, qualified lawyer, writer with the Irish Criminal Law Journal and visually impaired athlete. A well-accomplished individual, Sinead doesn’t let her disability hold her back and is living life to the fullest.
Sinead has made it her mission to serve others in a variety of roles and has advocated for disability law and policy issues all throughout her life. In 2008, she helped implement legislation in Ireland that allows visually impaired lawyers to have personal readers in court to assist them. Sinead has also challenged laws and policies where she has been discriminated against in sports such as not being allowed to have running guides to help her in competitions. Sinead challenged the decision and the court found that Sinead had been discriminated against under Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights and thus setting a new precedent in sport and disability cases. Sinead has many achievements in sport. One notable achievement was when she competed in the World Marathon challenge where she did seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. Sinead came joint-first in her marathon in Dubai. This is all remarkable given that Sinead only did her first marathon ever in October 2014 and only took up running in April 2012.
Sinead uses her successes in sport to highlight the issues which she is passionate about, particularly disability. Sinead is a double Guinness World Record Holder. In February 2018, she broke the Guinness World Record for furthest distance for a female on a treadmill in 12 hours. Sinead is also the holder of a Guinness World Record for being the first blind person to complete a Marathon on each of the seven Continents, a feat which she completed in less than 7 days in January 2017. She is also the first Irish female to do the world marathon challenge. Sinead and her guide runner completed their first Marathon of this challenge at Union Glacier, Antarctica followed by running a Marathon in Punta Arenas, South America; Miami, North America; Madrid, Europe; Marrakech, Africa; Dubai, Asia; and finally Sydney, Oceania.
Sinead’s vision is to be a World-Class Keynote Speaker and Athlete who advances knowledge about disability. Sinead to date has succeeded in this vision by delivering high quality professional speaking services to companies, organisations, schools and clubs, lecturing at third level institutions, continually competing in sports by running at the national and international level, committing to disability advocacy in her work and collaborating with companies, brands and organisations who want to create an inclusive and diverse society.
Sinead has also been involved with many different nonprofits including Sightsavers Ireland, Irish Guide Dogs, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, AbleVision Ireland, Childvision, the Clionas Foundation and many more. Most recently, Sinead has been asked to be an honorary ambassador for the Irish Girl Guides for a year where she will strive to inspire and empower young people.
Sinead has also raised in excess of €30,000 over the years for various charities. One notable donation was when she donated her sportsmanship award of €9,600 she won from the World Marathon Challenge to the Irish Guide Dogs.
The above achievements are admirable but are even more so when one considers that Sinead only has 5% vision and is registered as legally blind. Sinead has impacted society through monetary donations and through inspiring young people and adults and has spoken in many countries around the world – Spain, USA, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Russia to name a few. Sinead proves how those who persist in spite of a disability can develop determination, motivation, and creativity and can inspire on local and global levels.
Personal Improvement and/or Accomplishment
Srikanth Bolla has always been a visionary and a trailblazer, despite being born blind in an Indian village that did not have the resources to support his abilities. Srikanth not only became an acclaimed student, he went on to achieve great success as a leader who lifts up underprivileged students and gives people the resources they need to succeed in life.
In 2005, Srikanth became a Youth Leader in the Lead India Program to combat poverty and unemployment. It was here that he started his social service as a trainer to more than 800,000 young people sharing knowledge of leadership, human values and employability skills. During his time with the Lead India Program, he met a great mentor, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president of India. Inspired by Dr. Kalam, Sriknath continued working to improve the lives of the disabled in his home country, co-founding the Samanvai Center for Children with Multiple Disabilities in 2011. This center provides educational, vocational, financial, and rehabilitation services to students with multiple disabilities to allow them to lead economically independent and self-sustainable lives. He also designed and implemented a much needed Braille library in Hyderabad.
Srikanth attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received a grant to develop a computer research and training center promoting skills for educational and employment goals. In 2012, Srikanth started Bollant Industries, his current organization. Driven by the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to work, Bollant employs 2500 people of all abilities and hopes to overcome employment barriers for more than 80 million people in the future.
Srikanth strongly believes that protecting the environment is the only way to create wealth out of waste and build scalable businesses. His company produces eco-friendly disposable products and packaging solutions for manufacturers out of natural leaf and recycled paper. Bollant is a zero waste company that runs on solar power. Bollant Industries serves as a prime example of a company that succeeds in prioritizing both people and planet and works to create a more ethical world while supporting positive employment practices. Srikanth continues to prove that nothing is impossible and works every day to improve the future of India for all.
Temie Giwa-Tobuson is a passionate healthcare leader making African mothers safer. In 2009 she interned for the Department for International Development (DFID) in Abuja, Nigeria. During the internship, Temie encountered a mother whose protracted childbirth labor sparked an interest in maternal mortality among Nigerians. In January of 2010, she completed a fellowship at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva and later graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. After her studies, she moved to Uganda to do humanitarian work with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Her time at DFID, WHO, and the UNDP convinced Temie of the need to take action to prevent childbirth mortality among women on her continent and led to the foundation of LifeBank, a social enterprise that is saving thousands of lives across Africa.
Temie moved back to Nigeria permanently and in May 2012, she founded the non-governmental organisation “One Percent Blood Donation Enlightenment Foundation” or the One Percent Project. Her mission was to end blood shortages by educating people on the importance of donation and dispelling myths, prejudice and fears surrounding the topic in Africa. She also helped to establish an efficient distribution network of blood banks in Nigeria.
In February of 2014, while giving birth, Temie suffered a Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH). Although the incident caused several complications, Temie received treatment and made a full recovery. Her own life-threatening experience pushed her further into her work of seeking health solutions to Nigeria’s mother mortality problem. She discovered that in addition to complications like PPH, many maternal mortalities are due to preventable causes such as a lack of oxygen or limited blood supply.
Temie developed a business plan to increase resources and reduce preventable deaths. She assembled a team of young men and women to start LifeBank, a social enterprise focusing on saving lives through quick delivery of blood to patients in dire need. Since launching, LifeBank, working with over 1,000 hospitals and healthcare facilities, has successfully helped save over 19,500 lives simply through the adequate distribution of vital medical supplies such as blood, oxygen, and vaccines in Nigeria and Kenya.
LifeBank’s ambitious mission is to save a million lives across Africa in 10 years and to eventually expand to underdeveloped hospitals in India, Southeast Asia and South America to deliver critical supplies around the clock.