On the occasion of World Refugee Day, UNHCR announces the results of its National Student Contest on the right to education
Today, on World Refugee Day, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Greece is pleased to announce the winners of its 25th National Student Contest with the theme “Education cannot wait!”.
UNHCR’s National Student Contest which focuses on refugee issues, has been held annually since 1994. For the school year 2021-2022, students from all levels of education across the country were invited to create an information and awareness raising campaign around the theme of education.
More than 860 students, including refugees, from 35 towns across Greece took part, creating unique, creative and imaginative campaigns, videos and posters calling for quality and inclusive education for all. The campaigns explored how education can transform people, change lives, and open up new paths and futures.
A total of nine entries excelled, one for each age grade of the contest (from kindergarten to high school). All awarded entries can be seen here.
“World Refugee Day is a key moment to honour the courage, strength and contributions of the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, war, persecution or human rights violations. This is also a day when we ask people to remember the importance of welcoming newcomers into their communities”, said Maria Clara Martin, UNHCR Representative in Greece.
“I cannot think of a more welcoming, safe and healing space for refugees than school. Access to education can open a window to a better life, not only for refugee children, but for whole generations. Children in Greece – the leaders of tomorrow, gave a clear message after two challenging years marked by the pandemic: Their education cannot wait!”, she added.
Students of the 2nd Primary School of Ierapetra on Crete created a campaign entitled “Education means Equality”. “No one can take away the right to education and development. Education and progress cannot be stopped by any kind of discrimination. We understand that education is synonymous with equality[…] Because learning means moving forward,” they said.
The contest, supported by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, was held online from October 2021 to February 2022. Participants came from primary and secondary schools, as well as schools for adults and facilities run by NGOs providing non-formal education to refugee children.
Entries were evaluated by a committee consisting of representatives from the Hellenic Theatre/Drama and Education Network, the Network for Children’s Rights, the Panhellenic Association of Arts Teachers, the Panhellenic Association of Literature Teachers, UNICEF and UNHCR.
Winning students received symbolic gifts from UNHCR, while all participants were given commemorative diplomas for their participation in the contest. An online event will be held today at 17.00 to celebrate, together with the students, their parents and teachers, as well as members of the evaluation committee.
Ahead of the online ceremony and to thank the children for their efforts to promote solidarity, respect for human rights and positive change, Greek Olympic winner Sophia Bekatorou, singer Giorgos Perris and actors Evelina Papoulia, Spyros Xatziaggelakis and Christos Xatzipanagiotis, together with UNHCR, shared words of congratulations. Their video message can be seen here:
The event is taking place in the context of Refugee Week Greece, a week-long cultural and artistic festival celebrating the strength, creativity and contributions of people forced to flee.
All awarded entries and the detailed results of the contest are available here.