Poetry for Peace Contest

For four weeks, a social media Poetry for Peace contest invited the world to hear the living testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, called HIBAKUSHA, and respond to their stories in verse. People were also encouraged to "like" the poems that most touched them.

Throughout the month-long competition, 741 poems were submitted, some echoing the pain of the victims, others calling for nuclear disarmament and almost all crying out for peace. On the UN Peace Day Facebook page, the contest evolved into a dialogue among those visiting the site with a common goal that peace is the only option. The camaraderie that sprung up yielded posts on Facebook such as:

"I don't really care if I win...it's a wonderful opportunity to write for Peace. It's the best I could do to promote peace despite my cerebral palsy. Godspeed everyone."

"It has been an honor to have my poetry included among so many fine works here. What an important mission we poets have: to write for peace. "

Q: who are the winners? :))
A: POETRY... and PEACE...

The most interesting thing about this contest is that it has brought poets from all over the world together for the sake of peace.

Of the many poignant poems submitted, it was extremely difficult to choose just three. Ten verses were selected, based on criteria including the poem's connection to a hibakusha testimony, its relaying a message of peace, the structure of the verse, the overall impact of the poem, and the number of "likes" it received from users of Facebook. These finalists were, in turn, narrowed down to three winners, who were announced on 25 October 2011 at a ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The first step to nuclear disarmament comes with awareness. Although the poetry competition has ended, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs encourages everyone to keep their voices raised for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Congratulations to the winners, to all who participated and to everyone who contributes to peace.

Stay tuned for our next contest. It will be focused around art!




All Poems Submitted to the Contest


Paper Cranes