The ICRC, along with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, organized the Young Humanitarian Writers Competition 2020. This year's theme is the pandemic.

Humanity in a pandemic world: Young writers’ competition launched with new theme in Malaysia

Article 24 June 2020 Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur (ICRC) – Inviting young minds to use the power of the written word and tell stories of human grit and resilience amid pandemics, conflict and other violence, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and The National Press Club Malaysia (NPC) are proud to announce the launch of the Young Humanitarian Writers Competition 2020 (#YHWC2020).

Organized with the support of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS), this is the competition's sixth edition and is open to journalists working with established media organizations as well as students. The theme of pandemics is a special inclusion in view of the current situation.

Article categories cover all aspects of humanitarian crises such as stories from the front line, application of international humanitarian law and the impact of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on people. A new requirement of #YHWC2020 is that all entries must be based on interviews with topic experts or somebody of importance in the field. These can be done face-to-face or via phone call, email or video conferencing.

The competition was launched today to commemorate the battle of Solferino fought in 1859. The sight of tens of thousands of dead and wounded soldiers left on the battlefield had pushed young Swiss businessman Henry Dunant into action. Enlisting the help of villagers nearby, he cared for the wounded and dying, treating each one equally regardless of the side they had fought on. This experience led Dunant, together with four others, to form the ICRC in 1863. He also called for protection of wounded soldiers on battlefield, which then led to the first Geneva Convention in 1864.

Fast forward to today, the world is witnessing a humanitarian crisis of a different nature. While COVID-19 pandemic is not premised on war and violence, its scale and magnitude are also devastating. The pandemic has sent global markets into a tailspin, brought extreme stress to even the most advanced health-care systems and added new layers of vulnerabilities on populations already facing immense challenges.

Tackling the crisis is humanity's true moral test, creating hard choices for governments as they grapple with public health, economic and humanitarian needs. But also emerging from the devastation are powerful stories of ordinary people standing up to protect the lives and dignity of others and communities, uniting to survive the effects of the pandemic.

The competition aims to encourage young people to cast a spotlight on such stories to inspire, strengthen and heal. The last day for submission of entries is 31 October 2020.