Judges chosen for UPU’s world-renowned letter writing competition

2018 Judges for UPU’s letter writing competition come from the worlds of education, publishing, museums, and charity to search for one gold medal winner among millions of competitive entries

“Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?” is this year`s theme for the annual International Letter Writing Competition for Young People competition organized by the Universal Postal Union.

Now in its 47th year, the letter competition invites children up to the age of 15 from all over the world to express themselves in a letter. In doing so, they join millions of children over the decades who, in the form of a powerful letter, have captured their joy of language and love of words.

Children such as last year’s gold medal winner, Eva Palacios from Togo, whose imaginary letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres was aimed at the horrors of forced marriage. Eva wrote, “Child marriage is the act of marrying a child who has neither legally nor emotionally reached marriageable age. Child marriage is the result of deep-rooted traditions, poverty, ignorance, early pregnancy or a lack of law.” Her compelling letter ended with this memorable line, “They are married because they are seen as a burden and another mouth for their parents to feed. They are married because … because … because …”

Given the astonishing quality of the children’s letters, the Judge’s role is of fundamental importance. Just as in every previous year, in 2018, UPU has found judges of quality, sincerity and a burning commitment to improving children’s literacy and skills of expression.

The judges are: Isabelle Mili, a Professor of Didactic Arts and Music at the University of Geneva; Nancy Pope, the head curator at the History Department a the Smithsonian National Postal Museum; B. Robert Kreiser, Adjunct Professor of History at George Mason University; Michael Hamish Glen, Co-Founder of Interpret Europe—European Association for Heritage Interpretation; Jonathan Seaton, Co-founder of Twinkl Education and Publishing; and Alexandrina Iremciuc, Communication Manager at Geneva for Education Publishing.

Michael Hamish perhaps best summed up the views of every judge, and the spirit of the competition, when he said, “I am honoured to be asked to judge the work of young people who have so much to offer and who can encourage those of us who are older to look at things with a new perspective.”

Each year, the UPU International Bureau announces a theme. Participating countries then organize the competition at the national level with support from its Post and often with the support of education authorities. All entries must be submitted through the national Post. Each country chooses a national winner and submits this entry to the international round, held by the UPU. An international jury, chosen by the UPU International Bureau, judges the letters and selects the winners and entries worthy of a special mention.