News release

Malaysia: 2016 Young Humanitarian Writers Competition

The 2016 Young Humanitarian Writers Competition was launched today in conjunction with World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, celebrated on 8 May each year.

The competition is in its second year and is being organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the National Press Club Malaysia, in cooperation with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

The competition aims to stimulate discussion about today's most pressing humanitarian challenges and foster a broader understanding of the issues related to armed conflict and other violence. This year's theme, "The power of humanity", highlights people's individual and collective ability to relieve suffering, uphold human dignity and create a more humane society.

The inspiration for the competition comes from Henry Dunant's writing about how he, a Swiss businessman, ended up caring for injured and dying soldiers after the Battle of Solferino in 1859. His self-published book about the experience, A Memory of Solferino, led to the creation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the signing of the Geneva Conventions – the cornerstone of international humanitarian law.

The president of the National Press Club Malaysia, Datuk Mokhtar Hussain, is urging writers, including journalists, aged between 16 and 30 to enter. "If you're passionate about humanitarian issues, don't miss it," he said. "As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. Take up the challenge and become a humanitarian writer!"

"It's a privilege to be working with the National Press Club Malaysia again this year," said Isabelle Barras, head of the ICRC's regional delegation in Kuala Lumpur. "We were impressed by the quality of the writing last year and we hope it will be just as good this time. With so many crises in the world today, we need to recognize the dedication and contribution of individuals here who help those in need. That idea fits in nicely with this year's theme for World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day: 'Everywhere for everyone'!"

The secretary-general of the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, Dato Sayed A. Rahman Sayed Mohd, pointed out the special significance of this year's competition. "We chose 8 May for the launch because it is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day and Henry Dunant's birthday. Dunant could have just walked away from the horrors he witnessed. Instead he chose to stay and put everything else aside to help those in need. That is the spirit of humanity, and I believe it is in all of us."

The last day for entries is 31 October 2016. For more information about the competition, please contact the ICRC's Kuala Lumpur Delegation.

For further information, please contact:

Chin Lili, ICRC, tel: +60 3 2084 1807
Muharyani Othman, The National Press Club Malaysia
Jayanthy M. Maruthan, Malaysian Red Crescent Society, tel: +60 3 2141 7872