Wole Soyinka essay competition winners emerge July 14

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka

Winners of Wole Soyinka essay competition will be unveiled at a virtual prize ceremony on July 14, organisers said Wednesday afternoon.

The unveiling is part of activities marking the 86th birthday of Africa’s foremost Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, by the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Project (WSICE).

Early last month, calls for essays from young people across the globe was made with the theme, “I AM because YOU ARE,” a philosophy on the interdependence of the human family.

According to organisers, the theme was inspired by recent happenings in the world, especially the COVID-19 pandemic that has ruptured the fabric of collective humanity, in particular due to its protocol of social and physical distancing.

The competition was grouped into two categories: junior (12-16 years) and senior (17-22 years), and attracted participation from five language zones of the world: Anglophone (English), Francophone (French), Cinophone (Chinese), Hispaphone (Hispanic) and Lusophone (Portuguese).

The statement said over 2000 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 and Zimbabwe.

The entries went through four stages of adjudication with 12 appointed judges drawn from the academic and advocacy zones, reviewing them.

After the longlist was draw, external judges served as auditors of the decisions arrived at by the earlier judges,before winners were finally chosen.

The statement said, “the winners in the two categories will receive 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.”

Meanwhile, the executive producer, WSICE, Teju Kazeem, said the judging process was based on two virtues the WSICE over its eleven years of operation—transparency and integrity.

“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,” Mr Kareem was quoted as saying.

Interested persons have been advised to join the prize ceremony on zoom via: Meeting ID: 835 7543 6744; Password: WSICE2020.

Other activities

Other activities marking Mr Soyinka’s 86th birthday include an advocacy session to run for two days (July 12 -14) on Zoom and exhibition series titled ‘Timeless memories.

The Wole Soyinka advocacy session will feature 13 paper presentations on the main theme, I AM because YOU ARE with two keynotes: “Pursuit of Happiness and our Common Humanity” to be addressed by Li-Rong Lilly Cheng of the Chinese Cultural Centre, San Diego University, USA.

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Other speakers are drawn from five countries— Bunmi Oyinsan, women empowerment advocate (Nigeria/Canada); Cristian Aquino-Sterling, education researcher (Spain); Shabaka Thompson, culture researcher (Trinidad & Tobago); and Leolyn Jackson, education administrator (South Africa).

The WSICE began in 2010 in Lagos with a three-day programme, when Mr 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 in London, Ghana and Barbados.


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