JONATHAN BIRD (USA)
Jonathan Bird founded Oceanic Research Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental organization promoting conservation of the world’s oceans in 1990. Working from this non-profit, he created Jonathan Bird's Blue World, an educational family-friendly underwater science/adventure series. It aired on PBS from 2008-2014 and then transitioned to YouTube in season 5. On YouTube, it has become the most widely-watched scuba-themed program in the world, with more than 109 million views, and 320,000 subscribers, and still growing. The program is now fully funded by YouTube—the largest broadcast network in the world. It is also syndicated on television in 20 countries around the world. In various seasons, Jonathan Bird’s Blue World has been partially funded by the National Science Foundation and a number of foundations and companies, particularly the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. Jonathan has created and produced over 30 films for broadcast and education. His films have appeared all over the world, on networks such as National Geographic Channel, PBS, ABC, USA Network, Discovery and the SciFi Channel. His series has won 8 Emmy Awards since inception. He is also an accomplished still photographer and the author of seven books of underwater photography with articles and images published in hundreds of magazines, calendars and books. His contributions include introducing millions of children around the globe to the world of scuba diving.
LEE SELISKY (USA)
Starting in his garage with a six-pound lead weight mold, Lee went on to build the Sea Pearls company. His market was both domestic and international and as a pioneer in manufacturing became the prime vendor in his field. In an effort to “give back” to the diving industry Lee served on several non profit boards in leading positions: President of Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA), Founding Director of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF), multi term Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), Director of the original Ocean Futures Society, Director of the Hans Hass Award, and Chairman of Divers Alert Network (DAN). Using his personal philanthropy to “lead by example” Lee donated in excess of seven figures to not only programs of the Boards he lead but also regional dive show fund raisers, marine environmental programs, and marine medical programs. In 2017 he established the Lee Selisky Future Leaders in the Diving Industry Mentorship Program. His leadership changed the industry and improved the lives of many divers. His career exemplifies the term “giving back,” and many of the industry’s non-profit organizations and its future leaders owe him a debt of gratitude.
DR. ADEL MOHAMED TAHER (EGYPT)
Dr. Adel Mohamed Taher is considered one of the top world experts in hyperbaric medicine, receiving his Medicine and Surgery MB, BC h, from Cairo University in 1982. He is Medical Director of the Hyperbaric Medical Center at Sharm el Sheikh since 1993 and at Dahab since 2006. A PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor since 1982, he became Medical Director of DAN Egypt in 1994. Ever since, he’s been playing a vital role in promoting diver safety in the Red Sea area and beyond, by managing diving emergencies, participating in medical research projects and conferences, and acting as an advisor for governmental as well as non-governmental agencies.
In March 1993, Dr Taher opened the first recompression chamber in Sharm el-Sheikh at the Hyperbaric Medical Center providing a foundation of safety for the expanding dive tourism industry in the area. It has never refused a patient.
HUSSAIN 'SENDI' RASHEED (REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES)
Hussain Rasheed (known as Sendi Rasheed) was the first PADI Instructor Trainer in the Republic of Maldives and a key figure in developing diving tourism there. During his career, which is on-going, he has certified over 1,600 divers. He is active in developing regulations for the Maldive Islands and also works to assist marine environmental projects. His work came to international media attention when he created and organized an underwater Cabinet Meeting, chaired by the President of the Republic of Maldives, to bring world attention the threat of global warming. He is the former Dean of the Faculty of Marine Studies at Villa College (2006 – 2008), overseeing four departments: Marine Science, Watersports, Scuba Diving and Marine Medicine. He is affiliated as an Executive Director of all Villa Dive Centres under his company, Dive Oceanus, operating five PADI Dive Centers across four different atolls in the Maldives, and supervising 40 diving professionals. He is a founding member of the Divers Association Maldives (DAM).