Kuukua Eshun breaks new ground …seals $1 billion partnership deal with Rise Foundation

Kuukua Eshun breaks new ground …seals $1 billion partnership deal with Rise Foundation

● Kuukua Eshun

In July last year, our profiling lenses fell on Ghanaian Filmmaker, Kuukua Eshun, whose works had gained international recognition.  She had released “Artist, Act of Love”, in 2019, and won an award at the Worldwide Women’s Film Festival for ‘Best Visual Effect’.

She was selected by the European Union for the 2020 European Film Festival and in 2022, she had her film, ‘Born of the Earth’ premiered at Norwest Gallery in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

All of these recognitions notwithstanding, the young filmmaker continues to break new grounds as she aspires to rope in more youth to the creative industry.

In a recent interaction with The Spectator, the multiple award winning film director delved into details of her new partnership deal with Rise Foundation, as she becomes the first Ghanaian to seal the partnership which seeks to support brilliant but needy young people.

Kuukua, expressing excitement about the latest recognition disclosed all there is to know about the programme, and encouraged young people to sign up to the initiative as soon as possible.

“Rise, is looking for 15-17 year-olds who are working to solve difficult problems in society. It does not matter what country you live in, background or your academic experience,” she explained.

About Rise

Rise is a programme that funds brilliant people who need opportunity and support them for life as they work to serve others. It operates as an initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust.

In 2019, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, co-founders of the organisation made a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to identify and support global talent.

The programme offers scholarships, mentorship, funding for winners as they work towards solving humanity’s most pressing problems.

According to the Foundation, “the world’s most important problems will be solved by the next generation of leaders. Yet, too often the most brilliant people never realise their full potential for global impact,” hence the move to identify talented people, connect them to one another, and provide them with the opportunities they need to solve hard problems in society.

The opportunity is for young people interested in science, innovation, technology, art, policy, community organising, or any other interest.

“Everyone who applies to Rise, from anywhere in the world, gains access to free online courses, a network of peers, and a specially curated offering of opportunities from Rise’s partners around the world.

“The specific benefits will vary from year to year as new opportunities become available. Rise finalists will receive access to resources for career development, and will have the opportunity over time to compete for additional support offered by Schmidt Futures and its partner,” it indicated.

In 2021, 500 Rise finalists selected courses on leadership, youth advocacy, entrepreneurship, networking, critical thinking, among others.


Considered one of the largest award programmes for individuals in the world, the Foundation hunts for “hidden brilliance, in whatever form it takes, wherever it is in the world.”

“From high school classrooms, to refugee camps, to science fairs, we believe that brilliance is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. We’re on a mission to change the odds for the world’s most brilliant people from a young age and throughout their lives,” Kukua explained referring to documents from the foundation.

The benefactors added that young people were “full of creative ideas and more willing to work collaboratively hence the age limit of 15-17.

“We need a new generation of leaders that can deal with the growing complexity of the world—and that can use the power of new tools and technologies to solve our greatest challenges.”

“We believe Rise can find exceptional people at this critical moment in their lives and empower them to build a better world. But we don’t just give them support once—we offer it over time, throughout their careers,” it says.


The application process is in three stages: Applicants introduce themselves through videos, create an individual project that demonstrates their talents and how it benefits their communities.

The programme selects 500 Finalists to advance to the final stage where they demonstrate their motivations, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork skills in an innovative interview format. From the 500 finalists, 100 Global Winners are selected to receive a lifetime of benefits as they work to serve others.

Rise Global Winners hail from around the world and demonstrate brilliance in a range of disciplines. Some may excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) fields. Some may show outstanding artistic ability while others may have a gift for community service and other interests.

Applications are open until January 25, 2022 at www.risefortheworld.org.


Winners receive access to benefits such as invitation to attend fully-funded, three-week residential summit with other members of the Rise Global Winner cohort.

It again comes with mentorship and career services where mentors are paired with each Global Winner to provide personal, academic, or professional guidance, and specialised career services for internships and jobs.

Beneficiaries also get a four-year, post-secondary scholarship at any accredited university, including tuition and a living stipend, based on their need.

By Ernest Nutsugah

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