MANILA, Philippines – An 11-year-old Filipino student bested other young people from all over the world in an international letter-writing contest, winning the Philippines’ first medal in the competition’s nearly 43-year history.
Ashley Nicole Abalos, a student from PAREF-Woodrose School in Muntinlupa City, won the bronze prize at the 2014 International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People organized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency of the United Nations, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) said in a statement.
The first prize winner is a 13-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the second prize winner is a 10-year-old from China, PHLPost said. The winners will receive their prizes on October 9, the founding anniversary of UPU, to form part of the World Post Day celebration.
Contestants from all over the world submitted entries centered on this year’s theme – “Write a letter describing how music can touch lives.”
Abalos wrote a letter to a blind musician she heard at a public concert. A portion of her letter read: “Music is not music until it is shared. Through your music, you are able to open the eyes of many even if you yourself cannot see.”
‘Composition full of emotions’
PHLPost shared part of the commentary of the international jury on Abalos’ entry. The jury said, “Written with great sincerity, this composition full of emotions and genuine reflections captured the magic of music to connect people.”
Participating countries conducted their respective national competitions on the 2014 letter-writing theme, and sent the winning entries to the UPU for the international contest. PHLPost said an estimated 1.5 million young people participated at the national and international levels.
In the Philippines, PHLPost organized the competition with the help of the Department of Education, among others, where Abalos landed first place.
“The contest not only harnesses the skills of young people in letter-writing, but is a great way to make the youth aware of the significance of the postal sector,” said Postmaster General Josie dela Cruz, citing efforts of the UPU and PHLPost.
The UPU created the International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People in 1969 and officially launched it in 1971, drawing millions of participants up to the age of 15 from all over the world, at the national and international levels.
“The competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies, develops their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly, fosters their enjoyment of letter writing, and helps strengthen the bonds of international friendship – one of the basic missions of the UPU,” the UPU said in its official website.
Established in 1874, the Swiss-based UPU is the second oldest international organization in the world. It has 192 member-countries and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players. – Rappler.com