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Youth contest fosters dialogue on armed conflict

23-08-2010 News Release 145/10

Geneva (ICRC) – In an effort to give young people a stronger voice concerning today's most pressing humanitarian issues – from mass displacement caused by war to the lifelong and devastating impact of landmines – the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is launching a global "young reporter" competition, aimed at enabling people between the ages of 18 and 25 to better understand how violence affects young lives and share their views on armed conflict with others.

The " young reporter " initiative coincides with the International Year of Youth, which started on 12 August.

" Hostilities can take an unimaginable toll on children and young adults, yet, too often, they lack the means to make their concerns heard and they wind up suffering in silence, " said Philip Spoerri, the ICRC's director for international law. " The goal of this contest is to provide a basis for young people to listen to and learn from each other, and for us to learn from them. We hope the contest will put the spotlight on the challenges they face in war, while amplifying their shared hopes, ideas and dreams. "

Each of the four winners of the competition will be invited to travel to a country that has been affected by armed conflict – Georgia, Lebanon, Liberia or the Philippines – where they will be able to talk with other young people who have lived through fighting or suffered its consequences. Each will be hosted by an ICRC delegation and will have the opportunity to see activities run by the ICRC and/or the National Red Cross Society in the country concerned. In addition, the young reporters will receive coaching on writing about humanitarian issues from ICRC experts.

" Listening to the news or reading an article your friend shared on Facebook is not the same as sitting down face-to-face with someone your own age and really understanding what they've endured, " said Nicole Martins-Maag, the head of the ICRC's youth project. " This is a g olden opportunity for some talented young adults to discover a new culture, challenge their perceptions, exchange views on important topics and give a voice to other youths. It's also a chance to stand up and say, in their own words, what needs to change. "

At the end of their weeklong visit, each winner will be expected to produce a " story from the field, " which will be presented at a special event next year in Geneva on World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, which takes place every year on 8 May.

To be eligible, applicants must have strong communication skills. They should be interested in youth issues, have a desire to do something that will have an effect on people's lives, and have done voluntary work related to social or humanitarian services. Aspiring young reporters must submit an article, photo essay or short video on a humanitarian challenge of their choice. Entries will be judged on the basis of editorial quality, originality and relevance. Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 25, have a valid passport and should be available for travel in January or February 2011. Submissions are encouraged from young adults in all nations.

The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2010. The winners will be notified by 1 November 2010. For full entry details, please go to competition.  

For further information about the competition:    

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