UNHCR, the CCUNESCO and COSTI Immigrant Services are happy to announce the winners of the “Refugees and Human Rights Poetry Contest, 2016 edition”. Canadian students from grades 4 to 12 from schools across the country submitted high quality poems as part of this contest.

There were three categories for entry submissions in English:

Category 1: Grades 4-6
1st Place: Sydney Gutelius, Gr.6, Mentor College, Mississauga, ON: My Voice
2nd Place: Ryan Lin, Gr. 5, St. Aidan Catholic School, Toronto, ON: The Drip
3rd Place: Jack Young, Gr. 5, Hopewell Avenue Public School, Ottawa, ON: When I See You Again

Category 2: Grades 7-8
1st Place: Dania Mahmoud, Gr. 7, Cedarview Middle School, Ottawa, ON: The Cage
2nd Place: Elizabeth Chesser, Gr. 8, Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School, Burlington, ON: Old
3rd Place: Wesley Smith, Gr. 7, Bayview Elementary, Nanaimo, BC: Dissimilarity

Category 3: Grades 9-12
1st Place: Julianne Nieh, Gr. 12, Sr. Winston Churchill Secondary School, Burnaby, BC: Untitled
2nd Place: Aliyah Aziz, Gr. 10, Abbey Parks High School, Oakville, ON: Refugees
3rd Place: Meghan Pohlmann, Gr. 9, Walnut Grove Secondary School, Langley, BC: Enclosure

Winners will receive prizes from UNHCR, the CCUNESCO and COSTI Immigrant Services.

A word from the English Jury:

“Seeing life through another’s eyes is a skill that must be learnt. It isn’t something that many of us do naturally and must be practiced. It was clear to us as jury members while reading each poem that the poets had taken time to step into someone else’s shoes and join with them in their experiences through the written word. We were encouraged to see that so many young people were willing to engage in this way. We are hopeful that the insight they gained through their participation will spur them on to share these deepened understandings with others and will profoundly impact their own future choices and actions to transform their world for good.”

Members of the English Jury:

Mario Calla (COSTI), Pauline Dugré (CCUNESCO), Nina Drystek (Writer), Nicholas Keung (Toronto Star), Rana Khan (UNHCR), John Packer (Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa), Miriam Rawson (PaxEd), Neil Wilson (The Ottawa International Writers Festival)

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