Finalists of first worldwide School Contest based on intercultural dialogueParis, July 30 – An international jury selected 25 finalists [*] of the “Mondialogo School Contest” - the first global contest for school students involved in intercultural dialogue - at UNESCO Headquarters today. The 25 finalists, each consisting of two teams from different countries, were chosen by the jury whose members include former President of Iceland Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife, Japanese painter Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola and Malian scientist Cheick Diarra.
One-thousand-four-hundred-sixty-six teams totalling 25,000 participating students around the world took part in the contest. The finalists will travel to the closing event, the “Mondialogo Symposium”, to be held in Barcelona in mid-September.
The aim of the global contest initiated by DaimlerChrysler and UNESCO is to encourage dialogue between school students of different cultural origins. They have been paired to work together across continents on a joint project. This cooperation is intended to develop understanding, tolerance and friendship among people with different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds.
Among the finalists nominated in Paris are teams from countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Fiji, Germany and the US. The use of creative and innovative approaches to different topics was one factor influencing the jury’s decision. Equally important was the intensity of dialogue between the partner teams.
The participants in the “Mondialogo School Contest”, aged 15 to 18, came from 126 countries. The largest number came from Europe (543 teams), followed by Africa (427), Asia/Pacific (190), Latin America/Caribbean (157), the Arab States (98) and North America (51).
Of the 25 finalists nominated, three outstanding teams will receive cash prizes during the “Mondialogo Symposium” from September 17 to 20 in Barcelona.
In addition to its worldwide school contest, Mondialogo – the joint partnership initiative UNESCO and DaimlerChrysler launched in 2003 – also includes the “Mondialogo Engineering Award”, which is a contest aimed at promoting knowledge transfer between engineering students from developed and developing countries in support of sustainable development. It has also created the “Mondialogo Internet Portal” (www.mondialogo.org) in four languages, which features an intercultural magazine.
At the launch of the intercultural initiative Jürgen E. Schrempp, DaimlerChrysler CEO and one of the two Mondialogo patrons, emphasized the worldwide responsibility of his enterprise. "As a global company, we know exactly how important it is for people of different origins, languages, upbringing and cultures to learn how to approach each other in an open manner and without reservation. Through Mondialogo, we are offering schoolchildren and young engineers the chance to exchange views and experience with people of the same age throughout the world”.
Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO and the other Mondialogo patron, stressed the current importance of worldwide intercultural dialogue: “Learning to live together is the main focus of Mondialogo. This is the decisive challenge of the new century. Mondialogo encourages young people to enter into an exchange with people of their own age from other parts of the world, and thus helps them learn how to get to know and understand each other better. By working together and solving problems jointly, young people can set an example for others and give vivid expression to the concepts of tolerance, mutual understanding and peaceful engagement.”
The Mondialogo partnership also benefits from the support and advice of a number of leading international personalities who have agreed to serve as Mondialogo Ambassadors. They include: Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian novelist and author; Henning Mankell, the Swedish writer; Shen Che, Chairman of the China Folkore Photographic Association and President of Humanity Photo Awards; and UNESCO Artist for Peace Titouan Lamazou from France..
* The finalists come from the following countries: Belarus – Brazil, Bulgaria - Viet Nam, Cameroon – Poland, Cuba – Germany, Cuba – Greece, Czech Republic – Cuba, Czech Republic – Fiji, Egypt - Czech Republic, Germany - Russian Federation, Kuwait – Germany, Kuwait – Switzerland, Latvia – Slovenia, Lithuania – Kazakhstan, Mexico – Ghana, Nigeria – Azerbaijan, Nigeria – Romania, Pakistan – Romania, Pakistan - USA – Senegal, Russian Federation – Australia, Turkey - Dominican Republic, Ukraine – Malaysia, Ukraine – Philippines, Ukraine – USA, USA – Cambodia.
Top photo © UNESCO/Andrew Wheeler: From left to right: Former President of Iceland Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife, Japanese painter Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola and Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.
Bottom photo © UNESCO/Andrew Wheeler: From left to right: Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Marcel Khalife and the Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola.