Schmidt Futures and Rhodes Trust, Supported by Amideast, Launch Global “Rise” Program

Youth Talent Program Supported by Eric and Wendy Schmidt Seeks Extraordinary 15-to-17-Year-Olds Committed to Tackling World’s Most Pressing Issues

Washington, DC — Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, announced today the opening of applications for Rise, a new global talent program to find outstanding young people who need opportunity, and support them for life as they use their talents to build a better world. Rise is the anchor program of a broader $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Amideast is proud to partner with Rise in our region.

Rise seeks to identify talented young people, ages 15 to 17, from around the world who have the potential to use their talents to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. The program will build a global community of rising leaders, connecting everyone who applies with peers around the world, free learning resources, and access to additional opportunities from the Rise network of partners. Additionally, each year, Rise will select 100 Global Winners and provide them with a lifetime of personalized support—including scholarships, mentorship, career services, and access to funding to develop their ideas—as they work together to serve others.

Rise is working with dozens of global partners—from schools to businesses to local governments—to identify and support talented young people in communities throughout the world.

Rise and Amideast have a shared goal of empowering talented young people and effecting lasting change that will impact them throughout their lives and careers. The two organizations are collaborating to design an outreach strategy that engages talented 15-to-17-year-olds across the Middle East and North Africa. Amideast will promote Rise using its network of offices throughout the MENA region, and it will make available a range of education and training services to Rise Global Winners and the broader Rise community from the region.

“Today’s young people will face a rapidly changing world of challenges on a scale unprecedented in human history,” said Wendy Schmidt, Co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “Through this ambitious program, we hope to engage tomorrow’s leaders across the globe, providing education and unique opportunities for them to identify problems, solutions, and ways they can work together, for a lifetime, in the service of humanity.”

“We are living in a time of both significant global challenges and unique global opportunities,” said Eric Schmidt, Co-founder of Schmidt Futures. “With the launch of Rise, we hope to identify and empower the next generation of brilliant leaders around the world in a way that has never been done before. We’ll harness the power of technology to find talented young people who would otherwise go undiscovered or unsupported, connect them in a global community, and give them the resources to use their talents for good throughout their lives.”

“Amideast is honored to be partnering with Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust to bring Rise to youth in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Hisham Fahmy, Member of Amideast’s Board of Directors and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), Inc. “Our decades of experience working with young people in Egypt and throughout the MENA region have shown what a difference an opportunity such as this can make in helping talented youth realize their potential to make a positive impact in the world. We’re very pleased to be participating in this exciting new initiative.”

“Rise is an incredible opportunity to identify talent early and to nurture public-spirited young people who have the potential to do extraordinary things,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust. “At the Rhodes Trust, we have experienced the power of creating a lifelong network of exceptional talent. Whether it is the importance of being part of an innovative community for moments of intense challenge such as COVID, or sharing insights and expertise in order to tackle longer-standing issues such as climate change, the network of Rhodes Scholars is remarkable and I have every confidence that Rise will be similarly powerful in terms of moral engagement and mutual support.”

“Too often we give opportunity to brilliant young people in need and then walk away,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures. “But there are many barriers that keep the most exceptional people from serving others as their life’s work. Rise is the first program of this scale anywhere in the world to create opportunities for this extraordinary talent for life—because the world's biggest problems need sustained attention.”

“Today it is even more important that bonds of knowledge and friendship are shared across continents and countries,” said Professor Sir John Bell GBE, Chairman of the Rhodes Trustees and Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford. “Rise allows young people to forge a supportive and lifelong community and will help them make transformative change both locally and globally across all sectors.”

Rise Application Process

Beginning today through January 29, 2021, young people ages 15 to 17 as of July 1, 2021 can apply to Rise through Hello World - Rise, a global, mobile-first platform available on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

The Rise application is designed to identify potential, rather than evaluating applicants solely on grades or test scores. Rise looks for brilliant applicants who also demonstrate perseverance, empathy, and integrity—and who have a calling to make the world better and need an extra boost to make their ideas a reality.

Throughout the eight-month application and selection process, young people will have an opportunity to showcase these qualities by recording short videos about their background and interests; creating a two-month individual project on a topic about which they are passionate; and presenting their work on the Hello World app and providing feedback on the work of their peers. In the spring of 2021, up to 500 finalists will be selected to participate in a virtual interview.

All applicants will have access to free online courses on leadership, personal growth, and professional development from experts around the world—including Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer, in a learning module on curiosity conversations, and psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth, who will help guide young people through their project.

Young people without access to the Hello World app can also apply through other low-tech pathways. For more information about how to apply, visit

Rise Global Winners

Rise will announce its first cohort of 100 Rise Global Winners in July 2021.

Rise Global Winners will receive access to need-based financial support for university and internships, in addition to a technology package and free online courses. They will attend a fully-funded residential summit to explore leadership, service, and their future career paths. As they enter the workforce, they’ll receive mentorship and career services to further their service to others. If their work benefits their community, they’ll be able to apply for funding to scale up their impact. If they have an idea for a social enterprise, they’ll be able to compete for investment that grows as they show results. Throughout their lives, they’ll be able to engage with a global community of leaders and have early access to educational and funding opportunities through the network of Rise partners, including universities, businesses, and nonprofits.

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings talent together into networks, bets on the most promising ideas through competition, and equips people to scale through partners and thoughtful application of modern tools.

About The Rhodes Trust

The Rhodes Trust, based at the University of Oxford, brings together and develops exceptional people from all over the world, and in all fields of study, who are impatient with the way things are and have the courage to act. The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards providing transformative educational opportunities. Established in 1903, they are the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, education, the arts, NGOs, commerce, research and other sectors. They are well known advocates for expanded social justice, and have advanced the frontiers of science and medicine.

About Amideast

Founded in 1951, Amideast is a private, U.S. nonprofit organization with a long and distinguished record of engagement in international education, training, and development assistance in the Middle East and North Africa. Working with local, regional, and international partners, we provide programs and services to improve educational opportunity and quality, expand access to U.S. study, strengthen local institutions, and develop language and professional skills for success in the global economy. Headquartered in Washington, DC, Amideast has field offices in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank/Gaza, and Yemen.

For more information about Rise, visit:

For media inquiries, contact: