HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum awards children for their creativity and commitment to a more sustainable future
Dubai, 27 September 2020: The first winners of the Middle East edition of the Voices of Future Generations, the inspiring global writing competition for children, were announced today at a digital award ceremony streamed from the Zabeel Ladies Club, Dubai. The unique writing initiative, held under the patronage of UNESCO, was created to promote sustainability awareness and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The ceremony also marked the launch of the second edition of the competition in the Gulf region.
The regional competition is organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation on behalf of HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative for the Gulf Region, who said that the entries had been impressive: “This competition asks children to think more deeply about all the Sustainable Development Goals and how we treat our planet and each other. The eloquent and imaginative stories submitted have made it very clear to me that young people have both the vision and the will to change our world for the better.
“From discrimination and tolerance and the urgent need to preserve water in the face of climate change, to plastic pollution, Green Warriors and camels, the range and ingenuity has been exceptional. I am so proud of our talented children and the vision that they have created for the future.”
The competition, for children aged 8 to12, encourages children to write adventure stories about characters overcoming challenges and creating a more tolerant, sustainable world. The best entries are published in a book and sent to schools across the globe. More than 600 entries were received in this first year.
Speaking from Canada, Dr Alexandra Harrington, Legal Counsel and member of the International Commission for Voices of Future Generations, said: “We are thrilled to announce the winners of the first Voices of Future Generations Arabia Child Author Competition. The International Commission deeply appreciated the range of perspectives and lessons that were presented in the shortlisted stories, written in both Arabic and English. It is an honour to partner with the Emirates Literature Foundation, with the tremendous support of the Goodwill Ambassador, HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for the publication of these new stories in the Voices of Future Generations Children’s Initiative book series. These stories will help to share important messages from the region with children around the world, as well as foster a global conversation about Children’s Rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
The winners are:
Winners in the Arabic category:
1. Saud and Chess, by Saud Ahmad Salem Alkabi, age 8, Omair bin Abi Waqas Cycle 1 Governmental school
2. Be Aware, by Abdulkarim Ghazal, age 11, AlSholla Private School
3. Let’s Help Shihab, by Ahmad Ismail Zandah, age 12, Al Kamal Private School
Winners in the English category:
1. The Green Warrior, by Saira Thomas, age 12, from Our Own English High School
2. Jamila’s Habibi, by Sashini Manikandan, age 12, from Delhi Private School
3. Create the Chain, by Shahid Fayis, age 11, Delhi Private School
The award ceremony also marks the opening of the 2021 competition. Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “We are so proud to be part of this initiative. Children are the future, and the planet is theirs to inherit. We must give them a say, and truly listen to their voices when they share their vision for a better future. I can’t think of a better way for this vision to spread and take hold around the world than through stories. We must never underestimate the power of a story.”
The competition is open to children aged 8-12, writing for children aged 6 and above. All entries must be between 600-1,500 words long, in Arabic or English. The stories should feature one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the writer’s hopes, dreams or aspirations for a sustainable future. Entries are open to all children resident in the UAE and in full-time education, including those in home schooling. The competition will close in the first half of 2021.