A 15-year-old schoolgirl from New Delhi, Aditi Nair, and 14-year-old Raisa Gulati from Amritsar have been named senior and junior runners up, respectively, in the 's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021.
Aditi wrote ‘Prithavi Mata’, which imagines an exchange with Mother Earth and explores the impact Covid-19 has on the relationship between humans and the natural world. Raisa’s essay, ‘Autobiography of Corona’, imagines the Covid-19 virus’ thwarted efforts to conquer humanity.
Royal Society (RCS) Chair, Dr Linda Yueh, said: “In 2021, we asked young writers to reflect on their own experiences of Covid-19, to consider the strength their communities have shown, and to share with us their hopes. The response was outstanding.
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“Despite the significant interruptions due to the pandemic, we received a record-breaking 25,648 entries from all Commonwealth regions, demonstrating the competition’s ability to provide a platform for young people to express their views.”
The winners of the competition, open to all 54 Commonwealth countries, were 16-year-old Kayla Bosire from Nairobi, Kenya, and 13-year-old Ethan Charles Mufuma from Mukono, Uganda.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay is the world’s oldest international school writing competition. It was founded in 1883 by the Royal Commonwealth Society, who has proudly delivered the competition for nearly 140 years, to promote literacy, expression, and creativity among young people throughout the Commonwealth and help nations achieve UN SDG 4 (Quality Education).
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, who hosted a reception for the winners at St. James’ Palace in London last week, said: “On a global scale, the young people who enter this competition bring us together with their powerful stories, essays, poetry and letters on the issues that most matter today, making the profound accessible.”
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For this year’s competition, 130 volunteer judges, drawn from across the Commonwealth, assessed the entries on the theme, Community in the Commonwealth, and the final judging panel included bestselling author Dame Susan Hill DBE; Commonwealth Writer's Prize winner and poet, Sia Figiel; international award-winning theatre maker Femi Elufowoju Jr; academic and former Fijian politician, Emeritus Professor Satendra Nandan; Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Dr Paul Edmondson; and 2017 QCEC Senior Runner-up and author, Hiya Chowdhury.