Contest fosters dialogue on armed conflict

In an effort to give young people a stronger voice concerning pressing humanitarian issues, the International Committee of the Red Cross is launching a global “young reporter” competition, aimed at enabling people from 18 to 25 years old to better understand how violence affects young lives.

The “young reporter” initiative coincides with the International Year of Youth, which started on Aug. 12.Each of the four winners of the competition will be invited to travel to a country that has been affected by armed conflict – Georgia, Lebanon, Liberia or the Philippines – where they will be able to talk with other young people who have lived through fighting or suffered its consequences.

Each will be hosted by an ICRC delegation and will have the opportunity to see activities run by the ICRC and the National Red Cross Society in the country concerned.
In addition, the young reporters will receive coaching on writing about humanitarian issues from ICRC experts.

“Listening to the news or reading an article your friend shared on Facebook is not the same as sitting down face-to-face with someone your own age and really understanding what they’ve endured,” said Nicole Martins-Maag, the head of the ICRC’s youth project.

At the end of their weeklong visit, each winner will be expected to produce a “story from the field,” which will be presented at a special event next year in Geneva on World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, which takes place every year on May 8.

To be eligible, applicants must have strong communication skills. They should be interested in youth issues, have a desire to do something that will have an effect on people’s lives, and have done voluntary work related to social or humanitarian services.
Aspiring young reporters must submit an article, photo essay or short video on a humanitarian challenge of their choice. Entries will be judged on the basis of editorial quality, originality and relevance.

Candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 25, have a valid passport and should be available for travel in January or February 2011. Submissions are encouraged from young adults in all nations.

The deadline for submissions is Oct. 1.