|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference to Present 2011 School Award ‘Peace and Reconciliation’
Inspired by the International Year of Reconciliation, 2009, a Madrid-based non-governmental organization announced today that its international school award competition for 2011 would aim to teach children around the world about the importance of peace and reconciliation in resolving conflicts.
“We wanted to do something special about peace,” Joaquín Antuña, President of Peace and Cooperation, said at a Headquarters press conference. “This step forward could be reconciliation and friendship, and that begins in schools, in the family and in the community. It’s important to practise this idea of friendship.”
Mr. Antuñas said the contest was intended to teach children to think openly about the world and to understand that true and just dialogue among opponents was an essential building block for reconciliation and enduring peace. Between 25,000 and 50,000 students from some 90 countries were expected to enter the competition. Entries may be submitted in any of the six official United Nations languages, and the names of the winners would be announced at a ceremony to be held on 24 October 2011 at the Egyptian Institute in Madrid.
The competition comprises four categories, he said. Children in the first category, aged up to 6 years, would be required to draw a picture highlighting the value of friendship and family. Those aged from 7 to 12 years would submit posters and slogans about mutual understanding between peoples of different cultural, religious, political and ethnic backgrounds, while teenagers aged 13 to 15 years would paint murals about acts relating to reconciliation and promoting friendship. Youths aged 16 to 18 years would submit photographs depicting everyday situations and illustrating acts of reconciliation and friendship. In addition, teachers were asked to organize “celebration of friendship” events in which students would reconcile and learn to live together despite their differences.
Each year, the award corresponds to a different United Nations theme. The 2010 theme, “Take care of your planet”, aimed to teach children to look at their own behaviour and civil responsibility to address climate change. Previous years focused on such themes as peace and the United Nations, the right to water, and eliminating gender violence.
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