The prize announcement ceremony for winners in the international essay competition of the 11th Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) holds on Tuesday, July 14 via Zoom, the organisers have said.
A statement by the organisers said the competition, which ran June 5-26, is in two categories: Junior (12-16 years) and Senior (17-22), attracted participation from five language zones of the world: Anglophone (English), Francophone (French), Cinophone (Chinese), Hispaphone (Hispanic) and Lusophone (Portuguese).
Entries were submitted by participants from Nigeria; South Africa; Nepal; Pakistan; Ghana, Uganda; Angola; Barbados; Brazil; The Gambia; United States of America; Cuba; Cameroon; Kenya; Malawi; Tanzania; Zambia; China; United Arab Emirates; Canada; Philippines; Bangladesh; Indonesia; Zimbabwe.
The winners in the two categories will win various Dollar sums: Senior — Global $500=$1000; Junior — Global J+$300=$600, Global Winner CDP-S-$200 R-$100=300, Winner CDP-J-2000. R-$100=300.
The theme of the competition was: I AM because YOU ARE, inspired by UBUNTU, the Southern African cultural philosophy on the principle of interdependence of the Human Family. The theme is especially relevant now in the era of COVID-19, which has ruptured the fabric of collective humanity, in particular due to its protocol of social and physical distancing.
The essay writing competition represents the Students/Youths section of the annual project. The over 2,000 entries went through four levels of adjudication involving 12 judges appointed from the various language zones, most of them in the academic and cultural advocacy sectors. The longlists were then sent to external judges to serve as auditors of the decisions arrived at by the adjudicators.
“We went through that long, elaborate process to ensure transparency of the competition, and integrity of the entire project. Though the two virtues of transparency and integrity have always been our core principles since inception of the project 11 years ago, they have become even more imperative now that we have taken the project to the global stage,” stated Teju Kareem, Executive Producer of the WSICE.
The winners of the dollar prizes will be formally unveiled during the ‘Meet & Greet’ which will hold virtually in the evening hours of Tuesday, July 14th,
Interested members of the public have been advised to join the zoom party via: Meeting ID: 835 7543 6744; Password: WSICE2020.
The WSICE, which this year holds virtually because of the global pandemic, began in 2010 in Lagos with a three-day programme, when Soyinka was 76, and has run every year since then at its permanent home in Abeokuta, Ogun State, with satellite events in Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Rivers and other states. It has also been staged on London, Ghana and Barbados. Over 2000 students/youths and over 200 adult participants usually congregate every year at the project’s permanent venue in Ijegba Fore-Stage, a vast creative village located in the neighbourhood of Wole Soyinka’s residence in the Idi Aba Housing Estate Kemta Abeokuta. Featuring various items such as essay writing, advocacy conference, theatrical and poetry performances, mentorship/workshop and other self-expression events for the youths, the programme usually climaxes every July 14 –- (day after Soyinka’s birthday, July 13) — with a “Meet & Greet” event at which finalists in the essay competition are hosted first by the hosting governor of Ogun State, during which the winners are announced; and second to a mentoring session by the birthday celebrant, Wole Soyinka.
“This year, due to the pandemic, the entire three-day programme will hold in the virtual world, through the Zoom; we welcome all our guests to the New Normal of our Humanity,” remarked Lilian Amah, the renowned Tv and film actress, filmmaker, and producer of WSICE in its first five years, who is the consulting producer to the project.