First female astronaut to chair Star Awards Jury

Claudie Haigneré

Premium pay TV provider, MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat, organisers of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, has announced that winners and runners-up of this year’s edition of the essay competition will today be revealed at a ceremony in Lagos7.

A former astronaut and French Minister, now special advisor to European Space Agency’s (ESA) Director General, Claudie Haigneré, will chair the jury. According to the organisers, it is the first time a woman takes on this assignment, acting as a strong incentive for students dreaming big, especially young women, to live up to their full potential.

It was gathered that nearly 6,000 secondary school students have entered for the awards competition since Eutelsat and MultiChoice Africa established it in 2011. This year’s edition, the sixth in series, shows sustained interest from African learners, aged 14 to 19, which adds fresh impetus to the mission shared by MultiChoice and Eutelsat to encourage young minds to positively change their world via innovative thinking in science and technology.

Haigneré will preside over an international panel of skilled industry experts, alongside government and academic world members that include CEO, Innovative Technology Literacy Services Ltd (Nigeria), Ronke Bello; Regional Director for Africa at Eutelsat, Rodney Benn; General Manager, Broadcast Technology MultiChoice Africa, Melt Loubser, among others.

The DStv Eutelsat Star Awards encourages 14-19 year-old students to write an essay or design a poster on a satellite-related topic. Country winners from across Africa then compete in the overall awards for a trip to the Eutelsat facilities in Paris, with the essay winner travelling onwards to witness a live rocket launch. Runners-up win a trip to South Africa as guests of MultiChoice Africa and the South African National Space Agency at Hartebeesthoek.

Schools attended by the overall winners also receive a DStv installation, including dish, television, state-of-the-art PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet. Winners at national levels win prizes such as computers or tablets.

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