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The United Nations Information Service in Geneva, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Sweden, organized an essay contest on the theme of peace to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations and a major figure in international action for peace, and the 30th International Day of Peace.

The essay contest, open to pupils aged 11 to 16 of local international schools, was organized in the spirit of the actions initiated by Mr. Hammarskjöld. It was launched on 21 September 2011, the International Day of Peace and only three days after the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Hammarskjöld’s death, and concluded on 9 November with an award ceremony at the Palais des Nations.

About 90 pupils took part in the contest by writing an essay on one of four questions relating to peace in our time. Some of these questions asked entrants to look at themselves or those around them to find examples of how to achieve peace, while others looked at quotes from former United Nations Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld.

These essays were then assessed by an international jury composed of Didier Dutoit, in charge of the Eduki Foundation, Hélène Rapp, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Sweden, Bastian Bise, professor at the Collège André Chavanne, Cristina Giordano, UNOG librarian, and Francesca Ross, Information Officer with the UN Information Service. The assessment was made in terms of the creativity and originality of the essays, the effort put into presentation and the quality of the writing.

On 9 November, prizes were awarded in each group by the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and by the Permanent Representative of Sweden, Ambassador Jan Knutsson, during a ceremony that celebrated the life and legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld.

The United Nations Information Service in Geneva would like to thank and congratulate all of those that took part, as well as the teachers, the members of the jury, the Ambassador of Sweden and the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva for sharing their valuable time with us.

Photos of the ceremony

Essays :
11, 12 and 13 year old entries
11, 12 and 13 year old winners

14 year old entries
14 year old winners

15 year old entries
15 year old winners

16 year old entries
16 year old winners

Best historical essay