Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, who is a school student from Hai Duong, impressed an international jury with her touching letter to her 45-year-old self, beating a strong 980,000 entrants.
On 7 October 2016, during the closing ceremony of the 26th Universal Postal Congress in Instanbul, Turkey, UPU Director General awarded the gold medal (first prize) to Nguyen Thi Thu Trang from Vietnam, the winner of this year's International Letter-Writing Competition with the theme selected for the 2016 competition is: "Write a letter to your 45-year-old self."
This topic was chosen to mark the 45th edition of the international contest. Children around the world are warmly encouraged to give flight to their imagination, while writing a letter to themselves in the future.
Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, who is a student from Hai Duong, impressed an international jury with her touching letter to her 45-year-old self, beating a strong 980,000 entrants. She wrote her letter in the voice of Alan Kurdi.
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein (centre) awarded the gold medal to Nguyen Thi Thu Trang
“My beloved self! Now, I am in Heaven. What a shimmering, fantastic world it is. There is neither day nor night. The sun, the moon and the sparkling stars shine together through an atmosphere as clear as crystal. My mother and brother are smiling along with many others. We have no nations, no borders, no migration, no religious discrimination, no terrorism and no violence. Everybody is equal; we are all souls living in harmony and serenity.” she wrote.
UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein said he was delighted that children still value the power of the written word in our increasingly fast-paced digital society.
“The care put into crafting and posting a hand-written letter is different than that we put into the electronic communications we now rely on in our increasingly digital society. The creativity and thoughtfulness expressed by this year’s competition winners shows us just how stark this difference is”, said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein.
The international jury also awarded a silver medal to Ivana Iliyan Yaneva, a 15-year-old girl from Bulgaria and the bronze to Dasa Bahor, a 14-year-old girl from Slovenia.
Yaneva wrote in her letter stressing the importance of enjoying every moment to the fullest. “My dear, your whole life is just a moment … It is not necessary to chase time. It is not necessary to compete with it … Enjoy it,” she wrote in the voice of her older self.
Bahor wrote about her hopes for a world free of prejudice when she reaches her 45th birthday: “I hope that it is a new, more beautiful world that will permit differences, that will not try to condense people into a kind of ideal version of the human being”.
The international jury awarded special mentions to: Dimitris Mbaros, 14 years old (Cyprus), Laryssa da Silva Pinto, 15 years old (Brazil), Arina Klinova, 15 years old (Russian Federation), Marija Dodovska, 14 years old (Montenegro), Zaven Antonyan, 15 years old (Armenia), Vitalina Vinnik, 12 years old (Belarus), Anna Isabella Grech, 15 years old (Gibraltar), Annapurna Bastola, 14 years old (Nepal), Nuzhat Anzum Rahman, 13 years old (Bangladesh) and Sarah Enderle, 15 years old (Germany).
The UPU launched its International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People in 1971 as a way to promote literacy among young people. Vietnam has participated in this competition for 26 years. This is the second time Vietnamese student received the highest prize from the competition.