Hanli Prinsloo has been chosen to represent South Africa at the World Economic Forum's 2014 Young Global Leaders (YGL) Initiative.
Prinsloo, eleven times South African free diving record holder and founder of I Am Water, joins eight other inspirational South Africans chosen to represent South Africa for this honour, including Charlize Theron, Alan Knott Craig and Marlon Parker.
"I am excited to be a part of the class of 2014 Young Global Leaders. It was by chance that the director of the World Economic Forum heard me speak at a forum in Switzerland last year and it is amazing to see the opportunities arising from being in the right place at the right time," says Prinsloo.
"The YGL network is a formidable group of motivated individuals that I look forward to connecting with and having access to this network is invaluable for my organisation. The next couple of years will see me working on the sustainable scaling up of small but successful organisations with the greater goal of contributing significantly to the conservation of our oceans; this is not something one can achieve alone, so I am grateful for this vote of confidence from the WEF."
YGL create change
The more than 900 members of the YGL are all under the age of 40, all possess an entrepreneurial approach to creating change and are not willing to wait for decisions from formal authority figures, but rather get started on their own, building movements that have the power to change the world.
They share a sense of ethics and values, of responsibility to the global commons - an attitude that it is not sufficient to make a great product or have a good career, if it does not have a larger meaning.
The hope is that this generation will be able to restore trust and partnership between governments, corporates and the public in a time when it is so desperately needed. Bold, brave, action-oriented and entrepreneurial, these individuals have committed both their time and talent to make the world a better place, and to tackle some of the most critical issues facing humankind.
I Am Water Trust guards South Africa's oceans
Prinsloo was chosen for the YGL because of her work within the I Am Water Trust, which was founded in 2010 by passionate ocean lovers who acknowledged that humanity and nature could not survive without each other. The Trust's belief that the oceans degradation and slow demise is fundamentally due to a human disconnection and the only way to change this is to engage and educate individuals on their importance their role plays in creating and sustaining a healthy ocean and hence a healthy planet.
"It is the belief of the Trust that the preservation of our oceans and the precious knowledge regarding their diversity and the sharing of this across the cultural divide, is absolutely vital if South Africa is to prosper as a winning nation. Particular attention is given to the previously disadvantaged individuals of our nation and others who do not have access to the beauty and understanding of our oceans.
"Our blue planet may be divided by continents, but it is united by oceans. For the more than seven billion people on our rapidly growing planet, solving the challenges to our shared, sustainable future relies on the knowledge of individuals along with the conservation of resources. Our hope is that the Trust will provide global opportunities to engage and educate ocean-users with the world beneath the waves and to help them understand their personal opportunity to protect the planet," concludes Prinsloo.
For more information, go to www.iamwaterfoundation.org