A Hanoi ninth-grade student, Nguyen Binh Nguyen, won the first prize in the Vietnam round of the 51st edition of the International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People highlighting actions against climate change.
Organized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), this year’s international competition asks contestants to “write a letter to someone influential explaining why and how they should take action on the climate crisis”. The entries must be handwritten and not exceed 800 words.
A part of the beautiful letter Nguyen wrote to famous pianist Dang Thai Son. Photo: Binh Nguyen
In his letter, Nguyen Binh Nguyen from Nguyen Tri Phuong Middle School in Hanoi’s metropolitan district of Ba Dinh took on the role of a gust of wind and shared his idea of using music to inspire thoughts and actions on environmental protection with famous pianist Dang Thai Son.
“I believe that the wind can travel to many places, it can creep around every corner, witness many things, and also spread music. So if I transform into the wind, I would be able to communicate my message without borders,” Nguyen told The Hanoi Times.
On why he chose the recipient of the letter to be pianist Dang Thai Son, Nguyen explained that Son is the artist he has admired for both his talent and his vision. “At the time I wrote the letter, he had just returned to Vietnam to attend the Vinfuture Awards ceremony, so choosing Son would make it easier to instill pride and a sense of responsibility in everyone. I hope everyone would improve their awareness about climate change and think about the future of the Earth,” added Nguyen.
Nguyen’s letter will be translated into French before being submitted to the UPU in Switzerland.
Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunications Pham Anh Tuan, head of the organizing board, said that in response to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) held in the UK’s city of Glasgow in November 2021, UPU’s theme for 2022 competition gives young people a chance to raise their voice on the climate crisis.
“The contest officially kicked off in Vietnam for students nationwide from November 2021 to March 2022, touching on a pressing topic. It was inspired by the COP26 conference, with many heads of state in attendance,” Tuan said.
Nguyen Binh Nguyen, winner of the UPU writing contest in Vietnam. Photo: Huyen Hau
He added that the contest which provided an opportunity for students to speak about climate change had received nearly one million letters written by students from 62 cities and provinces nationwide.
The organizers also awarded three seconds and five third prizes as well as 30 honorable mentions. There were two special prizes for contestants with disabilities.
According to the UPU’s Program Manager for Communications and Events David Dadge, when the world leaders and stakeholders met in Glasgow for COP26 to help solve the climate crisis, young people can feel excluded, but they are the voices of the planet’s future.
“All of our participating member countries have consistently encouraged youth to develop their literacy skills and to focus on a particular subject. The competition is an excellent means of promoting literacy among youth and contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” David Dadge said.
“Readiness to take action on the climate disaster has never been more critical to save the planet and the livelihoods of the world’s population today. Voice your opinions on why and how to take action on the climate crisis. COP27 will be held in Egypt and could be a good chance for your voice to be heard,” he added.
This year's International Letter-Writing Competition is an excellent means for promoting literacy among youth and contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Adopted at UPU’s 1969 Tokyo Congress and launched in 1971, the UPU has encouraged young writers aged 9-15 to write letters on a given theme to win exciting prizes. All entries must be submitted through the National Post. Each country chooses a national winner and submits it as the country's entry to the UPU international competition.
An international jury complied by the International Bureau judges the letters and selects the overall winners and candidates that merit a special mention.
The competition brings talented young people together from thousands of schools in dozens of countries. It helps advance global literacy and education among young people. Currently, it is closely tied to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under Goal 4, which seeks inclusive and equitable education for all.
The competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies. It develops their skills in composition and their ability to express thoughts clearly, fosters enjoyment of letter writing and helps strengthen the bonds of international friendship.