Winners of young writers competition awarded

 20 Apr 2017 - 1:35

Winners of young writers competition awarded
Dana Shell Smith, US Ambassador to Qatar, and Akel I Kahera, Dean of VCUQatar, with the winners of Third Annual Young Writers Competition yesterday. Pic: Abdul Basit / The Peninsula

By Amna Pervaiz Rao / The Peninsula

The US embassy, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), celebrated the winners of the Third Annual Young Writers Competition at VCUQatar in Education City, yesterday.
Nearly 300 essays were submitted for this year’s competition and the top five writers from each grade were recognised at the event. The winning entries will also be featured in the Third Volume of the “Young Writers Journal” which will be published by the US Embassy in July.
Dana Shell Smith, US Ambassador to Qatar, congratulated all the students who participated in this year’s competition and commended the efforts of teachers, especially, for their invaluable support.
Talking to The Peninsula Dana Shell Smith said: “Young Writers Program is an incredible programme started on very small scale but now reaches 80% of the Qatari schools. This is something we are proud of. The theme of this year’s competition was Shaping our World for the Better which speaks directly to the importance of education in shaping our world, and particularly our youth, for the better. Every year I get excited to hand over the certificates to the winners of the competition.”
“This year I experienced something new, The piece written by Marah Ghazal made me and everyone sitting in the audience cry. I told her it’s a very powerful piece of writing. Marah is a talented writer and her story was worth sharing with everyone. I congratulate every writer who participated in this competition,” she added.
Dean Akel I Kahera of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, said: “We humbly appreciate Ambassador Smith and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education’s steadfast dedication to the Young Writers Program in its efforts to encourage Qatar’s youth to read, write and think critically about important topics in society. In our eyes, all of the students are winners, and we champion each one of them on pushing towards their goals.”
Meanwhile, during the event Marah Ghazal, Fifth grade student from Zaynab Bint Jahash Primary School for Girls, who stood first in grade five category read her emotions filled poem ‘Fireworks’ and Waseem Ragab Ayab, Eighth grade student from Osama Bin Zaid Preparatory School for Boys read his poem ‘Freedom Tree’ to the audience.
Maryam Al Hamadi, Student from Al Bayan Preparatory School for Girls, who was one of the winners told The Peninsula that: “ I was very confident that I will definitely score a position in this competition because theme this year was easy to understand and clear. My essay was about how to create peace around the world as eventually everyone is quite busy creating their own world.”
The Young Writers Competition is the central component of the larger Young Writers Program, which strives to encourage Qatar’s youth to read, write and think critically about important topics in their society, while improving their English literacy skills. According to many students who participate, the writing competition improves their imagination and gives them ideas on how to change the world through writing.