Today the winners of the ASiS International Essay Writing Competition received their prizes during a special award ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
The Deputy Director of the Malaysia Ministry of Education attended the award ceremony and gave a speech in which he highlighted that wetlands are undervalued ecosystems despite the many functions and benefits they provide. He highlighted the timely nature of this essay competition, which exposes a younger generation to wetlands and the issues they face. As future leaders they can use the knowledge gained to influence decisions regarding the protection and conservation of these areas.
The competition was organised by Wetlands International in collaboration with SM Sains Alam Shah (ASiS) School and the Ministry of Education in Malaysia. This year the theme was “Conserving our natural heritage – wetlands: a global perspective”. A total of 76 students, between 12-18 years, from 17 countries in Asia and Africa submitted entries.
After careful scrutiny by an international panel of judges the winners were selected. In the Senior category (16-18) the first prize went to Preevena Devi Jayabalan from Malaysia. Preevena’s essay explores migratory birds in Malaysia and the impact of habitat loss on these birds. The essay ends with a simple but powerful call to action:
In a nutshell, not only the habitats, but the birds and their flyway routes should be protected not destroyed. Remember this; we are humans. If we carry on with this, we could be even worse than animals. Have some love and peace because not everything can be achieved using power and destruction. Spread tranquility and beyond to the environment, most importantly to the birds.
In the Junior category (12-15) first prize went to Anushka Phadke from India. Anushka’s essay explores the beauty and importance of wetlands and the fate that awaits wetlands and humans if we continue to destroy them.
The top three entries in each category as well as a number of consolation prize winners received a book and a certificate. Certificates will also be distributed to all participants who met the entry requirements for the competition. A parent of one of the participation certificate winners comment on the importance of this award:
This competition not only helped my son to get a deeper understanding about conservation issues globally and contextually, but also develop the passion to come forward and contribute his part along with making others aware about this serious issue.
Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International, recorded a message congratulating the winners.