The Nelson Mandela Essay Competition in Greece
Ambassador Makgetla awards first prize winner: Mr Ioannis Panselinas
The South African Embassy in Athens cooperated with International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools to celebrate South Africa’s 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy.
A unique celebration of democracy in South Africa took place on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, in the Theater at ACS Athens: the final stage of the 20 year Celebration of Democracy through “The Nelson Mandela Essay Competition”.
Participants from 9 IB schools of the Athens area were represented by 30 students on the stage of the Theater. All students were acknowledged for their motivation, inquiry, principals, internationalism, effort and desire to learn beyond their required school work.
The topics for both levels set by the South African Embassy asked students to explore themes and issues inspired by the thoughts, values and actions of Nelson Mandela. Faculties from all schools decided on the assessment criteria and rules of the competition and collaborated in assessing all 30 essays that reached the final stage of the competition.
Twelve students age 13-15 and eighteen students age 16-18 from Costeas Geitonas School, St Catherine, Ionios, American Community School, Moraitis, Campion School, HAEF, Doukas, Platon entered the final stage of “The Nelson Mandela Essay Competition”.
Ambassador Makgetla of South African honored all IB High and Middle school students who participated in “The Nelson Mandela Essay Competition” and announced the winners of the competition for both the junior and senior level. He personally thanked the students and presented them with gifts of appreciation.
Dr S Gialamas, Presidents of ACS Athens with Ambassador S.R Makgetla
The program included inspired speeches from Dr Gialamas, presidents of ACS Athens, Ambassador Sophonia Makgetla, Ms Anne Petters, Chair of the IB School in Greece Association, a video from Nelson Mandela’s speeches and funny moments, student readings of the winning essays and a short dance performance of the Mandela Girls dancing group.
The evening was an imagined journey from the past to the present and to the future through the sharing of experiences and the connection of Mandela’s ideas to today and tomorrow. The winner of the junior level competition read his essay on how students can “take action, inspire, change, make every day a Mandela day” while the winner of the senior level of completion shared with us his views on Mandela’s quote about change: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not in fighting the old, but on building the new.”
It was indeed inspiring to watch the future generation of leaders talking to the present generation about how they understand Nelson Mandela’s lessons on education, democracy, freedom, equality, resilience or resolution.
Congratulations to all of the students for taking this initiative and becoming architects of their own learning.
SA Embassy Athens, Greece