News — August 26, 2015

Announcing the 2015 JCI TOYP Honorees

Through innovative actions, extraordinary achievement and dedication to serving others, the 2015 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) Honorees create sustainable impact in their communities and across the globe

Each year, JCI honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40. These young active citizens exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide exemplary service to their communities, serving as honorable young active citizens.


JCI members and active citizens from around the world voted online to participate in selecting the 2015 JCI TOYP Honorees. Along with the final judging panel, comprised of representatives of select partner organizations and 2015 JCI President Ismail Haznedar, the online votes helped determine the winning honorees. After more than 26,000 votes were cast and the judging panel reviewed the top 20 finalists, ten young active citizens were selected for their exceptional service, creativity and positive change in their communities and the world. 


Get to know the 2015 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World.


Ada Alvarez

Contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights

Combining her journalism and communications knowledge and background, Ada Alvarez began advocating for women’s rights. When she was just 16, she wrote “Lo que no dije,” a novel which narrated her former abusive relationship, alongside the stories of other women she met in domestic violence shelters. She later self published her novel at the age of 19, becoming Puerto Rico’s youngest novelist. Alvarez’s educational background and personal experiences have not only helped her advocate for women rights but also for the promotion of social equality as she is also an effective activist against bullying, xenophobia, homophobia and all other forms of violence against other human beings. 


Swati Bondia 

Business, economic and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment 

With an educational background in management, Swati Bondia founded Om Shanti Traders using the bottom of the pyramid approach to business. Through this approach, she identified the poor and underprivileged citizens in her community, trained and provided them with new skill sets and then offered employment by marketing and selling their items to corporate buyers. This particular social enterprise unlocks business potential for disadvantaged individuals, creates employment and economic freedom while advancing and uplifting the living standards and spirits of these individuals. Bondia’s positive demeanor, belief in humanity and willingness to serve those around her is the essence to her success. 


Dr. Michael Feilmeier 

Humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership

With an educational background in Ophthalmology, Dr. Michael Feilmeier spends his time serving others around the globe. Whether it is at his private practice, or volunteering as the Medical Director of the Global Blindness Prevention Division at the Truhlsen Eye Institute, restoring vision to those in need is his mission in life. Under his guidance, the division has provided eye care services and sight-restoring surgeries to patients living in Nepal, Ethiopia, Peru, Ghana, Somalia, Kenya and Haiti as well as to local members of the Ponca Tribe of Native Americans. To date, Dr. Feilmeier and his team have performed over 1700 sight-restoring surgeries, facilitated eye care screenings for over 10,000 patients and raised more than US $500,000 in donated cash, equipment and consumables. 


Lonick Garius

Business, economic and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment 

Lonick Garius financed his studies through entrepreneurship endeavors starting at the age of 12. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Garius launched his next entrepreneurial venture, Bioced, a medical initiative offering laboratory testing, internal medicine, psychiatry, gynecology and dental care at lowered costs. Bioced has since granted valuable, educational internships to medical students from public and private sector schools. Due to the great success of Bioced and his entrepreneurial experience, Garius alongside six partners, launched the ESNATECH School of Nursing and Medical Technology. Due to the schools success, a scholarship program has since been implemented to help young students who cannot afford such schooling. Garius’ story is proof that neither age nor financial means can be barriers to achieving ones dreams.


Sofiya Kalinova 

Humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership

As a young member of the deaf community, Sofiya Kalinova continues to dedicate herself to the development of deaf individuals to achieve equal access in life. She realized early on that to defend the rights of people is the human purpose in life. She has been working toward the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in Bulgaria and Europe and is also closely associated with the British Council. Kalinova, along with other ambitious deaf students will form the Bulgarian Student Union of Deaf, bringing together students from all Bulgarian Universities and colleges of education to defend the social rights of deaf students. She strongly believes there is unity in diversity and advocates for integration between the deaf and hearing.


Chisenga Muyoya 

Business, economic and/or entrepreneurial accomplishment

With a background in computing and information system management, Chisenga Muyoya felt compelled to take a stand for women in technology by founding Asikana Network; a youth led social enterprise that seeks to increase the participation of young women in technology. Asikana Network provides young women with free training sessions in skills such as mobile application development, web development and video editing. In addition, Asikana Network holds networking sessions to provide a platform for the young women to connect locally and also encourages entrepreneurship as a means for women to gain economic liberation. Through her work, Muyoya continues to positively use technology as a tool to challenge cultural norms and find innovative solutions to create sustainable futures for young women. 


Joanne O’ Riordan 

Contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights 

O’ Riordan was introduced to the media at a very young age when she openly challenged the Irish government on budget cuts which would affect those living with disabilities; O’ Riordan has a rare medical disability where she was born without limbs. The proposed cut was reversed and as a result, O’ Riordan became a national symbol of hope and a global voice for the disabled. On her 16th birthday, she delivered a landmark speech at the UN to the worlds leading women in technology on how technology positively transformed her life. O’ Riordan continues to help others by collaborating with Trinity College Dublin to design Robbie the Robot, a product to allow people with disabilities to also live a comfortable and independent life. 


Dr. Landry Signé 

Academic Leadership and/or accomplishment 

With a Ph.D. and post-Ph.D. in political science, Dr. Landry Signé has focused his life’s work on the transformation of African economies, governance, political processes, development, policy implementation and management of natural resources. He is the founding chairman of the award-winning nonprofit Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity (GNAP). Through GNAP, Dr. Signé works to redefine Africa as a continent of economic opportunities by developing an open-access platform, providing opportunities such as access to knowledge and collaborative efforts to promote sustainable growth and development to enhance Africa’s prosperity. GNAP has allowed approximately 5000 organizations, from 54 countries, to connect, impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans. He continues to contribute to Africa’s economic prosperity through education and technology transfer.


David Smolansky Urosa

Political, legal and/or governmental affairs

David Smolansky Urosa is an advocate for pubic safety who demands that the right to life be guaranteed. His quest in defending the rights and freedoms of Venezuelans began after a tragic murder of three young boys was brought to national attention. Smolansky gave a pivotal political speech vowing himself to public service as a means to transform his country and in December 2013, he became the youngest Mayor in Venezuela when elected as the El Hatillo Municipality Mayor. Through this position, he has tirelessly worked to ensure the safety of more than 100,000 habitants of El Hatillo; since his election, crime rates have dropped significantly. Smolansky continues to promote social progress and better standards of life so that all humans can enjoy freedom of speech and belief. 


Dr. John van Bockxmeer 

Medical innovation

With a background and passion in community health and medicine, Dr. John van Bockxmeer founded the award-winning nonprofit Fair Game Australia as a way to reduce the risk of lifestyle related diseases, build social cohesion and improve the mental well-being of local communities. The nonprofits impact is achieved through a series of programs encouraging best-practices and team building experiences resulting in a variety of successful outcomes such as inspiring 5000 indigenous people and refugees to improve their health, recruiting and training over 140 volunteers and collecting over 20,000 pieces of recycled sports equipment. Dr. van Bockxmeer’s dedication to medicine and community health along with his vision to bridge inequality, not only advocates for healthy lifestyles but also inspires many to lead a life of serving others.


Congratulate the 10 TOYP Honorees at the 2015 JCI Awards Ceremony featuring the 2015 JCI TOYP Honorees at the JCI World Congress in Kanazawa, Japan on Saturday, November 7


Be sure to also attend the JCI TOYP Honoree Workshop: Collaborating for Impact to meet the honorees face-to-face on Saturday, November 7. Just like all JCI members, the JCI TOYP Honorees take action in their communities, creating sustainable solutions for a better world. In this workshop, Congress delegates will have the opportunity to meet, work and share ideas with these ten inspirational individuals. To solve the greatest challenges of our time, collaboration amongst young active citizens is key. Don’t miss this exciting program and return home to your fellow members with fresh ideas and solutions for taking impactful action, just like these Honorees. 


Discover more about each JCI TOYP Honoree in their official press releases. 


Learn more about World Congress in Kanazawa and register today!


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