Columban Schools launch media competition “Building Peaceful Futures”

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The Columban Missionaries in Britain and Ireland are proud to announce the launch of their latest Schools Media Competition which this year has the title: ‘Building Peaceful Futures’. It is being launched on World Peace Day, 21 September.

The competition is targeted at students aged between 13-18 years old who are invited to demonstrate an awareness and an understanding of conflict and peacemaking in the world today through the submission of either a written article or an original image. Students are being asked to do their own research and shine light on people, communities and/or organisations who are trying to make the world a better place for everyone by building peaceful futures.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy.

Hebrews 12:14

In his role as Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker in Britain, James Trewby visits young people in schools and sixth forms and runs workshops, retreats and assemblies to promote justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

He explains: “I’m delighted that the Columban Schools Media Competition this year focuses on the theme of peace. There is a lot of conflict in the world at the moment, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact there are also many initiatives designed to build bridges and promote peace too! The Columbans are keen to nurture the student voice and provide an opportunity for young people to explore these areas and determine their own thoughts on conflict and whether it is inevitable. Besides this we want to ascertain young people’s understanding of peacebuilding, how and where it’s taking place and how faith can play a part in peacemaking.”

Encouraging creativity and faith engagement with issues in the world today, this year’s competition welcomes both written and image entries until 10 February 2023, with winners being announced on 13 March 2023. Two separate competitions will be judged, one for students in Ireland and one for students in Britain. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning entrants and the first prize is an impressive £300 or 300 euros!

High-profile judges from the world of journalism have been secured and winning entries will be published in the Columbans’ Far East magazine, Vocation for Justice newsletter,  Columban websites in Ireland and Britain, Columban social media and in other Catholic media.  

A core aspect of Columban mission is justice, peace and ecology. Besides being members of Pax Christi International, the Catholic Church’s peace organisation, Columbans also support the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales and Justice and Peace Scotland.

Having a passion for creation, Columbans lobby to make peace with the planet. Around the world Columban Missionaries support communities who are losing land to extractive industries and suffering militarisation. Fr Pat Cunningham, who works in South Korea and is one of our judges, is active with the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and a campaign to protest the militarisation of the beautiful island of Jeju. Another judge, Fr Kurt Zion Pala, is a Filipino Columban priest working in Myanmar, a country ruled by a military dictatorship. He works with members of Catholic Student Action in Myitkyina Diocese, who travel into the countryside and work with communities on environmental issues and sharing personal reflections on care for creation.  Columbans are also proud to work with refugees and asylum seekers to build peaceful relationships in local communities.

Students will find the Columban Competition website a useful resource. It includes information on the theme, examples of Columbans dedicated to building peace throughout the world as well as Catholic Social Teaching on the theme of peace. There are also detail on submission of entries and a helpful FAQ page. The website provides material suitable for students, teachers and parents.

This is the sixth annual School’s Media Competition.

Past themes have focused on Migrants, Climate Change, Racism and 21st Century Changemakers.