Over 60 people attended the congratulatory event, which occurred in the margins of the discussions undertaken by the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee on Disarmament and International Security. The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, announced and congratulated the winners for their creative video submissions. The winning pieces were premiered during the event, with the young filmmakers sharing their recommendations for establishing a safer, more sustainable world for all. Two youth representatives from UNODA, Ms. Zainab Rauf Tramboo and Ms. Marykate Monaghan, co-moderated the event.
Coined from the Latin words spes, which means hope, and terra, which means land, the “What if – Spesterra” Youth Video Challenge invited young filmmakers to share their visions of what the world would look like if more money was spent on peace and development and less on arms. The challenge was officially launched by UNODA’s #Youth4Disarmament initiative on World Arts Day, 15 April 2021, and closed for submissions on International Youth Day, 12 August 2021.
In opening remarks, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs commended the young filmmakers for their fresh perspectives and artistic contributions. Ms. Nakamitsu highlighted the entries as exemplary of how art can act as a common language to share perspectives and engage others, both intellectually and emotionally. “Their powerful and personal submissions reflected the sense of responsibility and passion felt by youth to act as the ultimate force for change,” Ms. Nakamitsu added.
All three winning submissions were premiered during the event, with the filmmakers spotlighting the inspirations behind their contributions. The third-place prize winners Ms. Misaki Teramoto and Ms. Yuzuki Osaki shared the motivations behind their submission, “Recovery of Damage”, emphasising the importance of using music, images and other forms of art to engage and educate youth on issues related to disarmament and non-proliferation. In a video message, the second-place prize winner Ms. Ruth Rohde, said that the use of humour in her piece, “Welcome to Büchel”, was a tool to question the allocation of funding towards arms rather than initiatives focused on climate action.
First-place prize winner Ms. Virginia Bertuzzi reflected on the use of voice-over in her submission, “In a time full of war, be peace”, highlighting the need for the voices of youth to be heard in disarmament efforts. “Our voices, my voice, they all tell a different story, and they all matter, and now more than ever, we have to use them for the cause of peace,” She said.
H.E. Ms. Maritza Chan Valverde, Deputy Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations, congratulated the winners and commended UNODA for creating a space for youth perspectives to be heard. Ambassador Chan also noted that all winners of the “What If – Spesterra” Youth Video Challenge were young women and underscored the importance of facilitating the effective participation of women and girls in disarmament forums.
United Nations Messenger of Peace, Mr. Michael Douglas, delivered closing remarks via a video message, congratulating the four winners for their inventive and personal contributions. Mr. Douglas highlighted the creativity of the winning pieces as essential for engaging others on the need to invest resources to protect people and the planet. “Either with beauty or humour, they underscore how our individual efforts can help establish a more peaceful and sustainable world, no matter how big or small,” Mr. Douglas said.
Through their multimedia contributions, the young winners highlighted the vital ways in which disarmament contributes to establishing a safer, more secure world for current and future generations. Using art as a universal language, the winning filmmakers point the way and invite us all on the journey towards ‘Spesterra’.
The winning submissions are available to watch on the #Youth4Disarmament initiative’s dedicated webpage.