United Nations launches ‘Poetry for Peace’ contest
September 19 - 25, 2011
By THE United Nations, together with the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN, last week announced the launch of an English-language poetry contest to commemorate International Day of Peace on September 21, as well as Disarmament Week from October 24 to 30.
The “Poetry for Peace” contest is intended to reinforce the message of a peaceful world, according to the contest website (www.un.org/disarmament/special/poetryforpeace/). According to the website, the contest centres around participants listening to the testimonies and stories of atomic bomb survivors in Japan, known as Hibakusha, and writing in verse to express their feelings about what they have heard.
Many atomic bomb survivors have dedicated their lives to peace. Although the average age of the Hibakusha is now 73, they continue to work for nuclear disarmament by sharing their firsthand accounts of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Students, young adults and the general public are invited to take part in the contest.
The Hibakusha testimonies are available for listening at the contest website. Participants can post their poem in any form, from haiku to a sonnet, on the wall of the International Day of Peace Facebook page (www.facebook.com/unpeaceday), or they can e-mail them to [email protected] with “Poems for Peace” in the subject line.
“Many young people in Myanmar are now actively using social media and most of these technically savvy young people are on Facebook,” said Aye Win, the national information officer from the UN Information Centre in Yangon.
“Many of them also have improved English skills. The competition is a good opportunity for them to involve themselves in global issues. But the competition is not confined to young people only. Since everyone gets a chance to post a poem for peace on the wall in Facebook, everyone is a winner.” The contest will close on October 14 and three winners will be selected from among those with the most “likes” by a panel of judges from the UN and the Japanese government. Their names will be read out in a commemorative event during Disarmament Week, and they will also be announced on the International Day of Peace Facebook page.