Winners of Mondialogo School Contest proclaimedA team of students from schools in Indonesia and Italy has won the 2006 Mondialogo School Contest for raising money to provide free schooling to Indonesian children living off garbage dumps. The results of the competition, initiated by UNESCO and DaimlerChrysler to promote dialogue among young people, were announced Monday evening in Rome.
Second prize was awarded to a team from Japan and Turkey for a game they designed about cultural heritage protection and on how to respond to natural disasters. The third place in the contest was shared between partner teams from Congo-Poland and a team from the Czech Republic and Argentina. The Congo-Poland team published a magazine dedicated to the life of children in these countries, while the Czech Republic-Argentina team produced an inspiring video report highlighting similarities in their everyday lives.
“Mondialogo offers a unique chance for young people from all over the world to communicate and learn how to carry out projects together across geographical and cultural barriers,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura. “It is an excellent hands-on way for them to learn to live together and gain respect for one another. Mondialogo is also a choice example of what UNESCO can achieve by entering into partnership with the private sector.”
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the DaimlerChrysler Board and patron of Mondialogo, said: “DaimlerChrysler is proud to have initiated Mondialogo. The initiative promotes intercultural learning and prepares young people to live and work in a global environment. Every school that participates wins, because the inspiring power of intercultural dialogue is an experience for life.”
Special recognition for commitment to dialogue was given to a team from Iran and the U.S.A., for their project on water supply. Because direct communication between the two countries proved difficult, the partner team used intermediaries in Bolivia and Pakistan to complete their project.
Further special recognition went to a Romania-Yemen partner team for outstanding creativity. Team members set up a model intercultural community whose architecture unites Christian and Muslim elements in a single city.
A partner team from South Africa and Australia also received special recognition for a project on HIV-AIDS education.
The winners were announced in Rome during the Mondialogo Symposium which brought together students and teachers from the 50 finalist partner teams representing 37 countries. The Symposium featured workshops and debates about the importance of intercultural dialogue.
This year 35,000 students from 138 nations took part in the Mondialogo School Contest. The competition was created in 2003, alongside the Mondialogo Engineering Award, a contest for engineering students aimed at promoting the transfer of knowledge between industrialized and developing countries. An Internet Portal in five languages with an intercultural magazine was also established.
Ambassadors of Mondialogo include the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho and Swedish writer Henning Mankell.