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    Poland: Essay competition 2024 launch

    The prize for the top winner is a trip to Geneva, Switzerland and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

    The contest is being sponsored by the ICRC, the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland, Network on Humanitarian Action, the Polish Red Cross Society and the Universities of Gdansk and Warsaw.

    The twenty-first century has already taught us that in an ever-changing theatre of an armed conflict, humanitarians must think about adapting to not only new weapons and tactics, but also to the environment outside of the battlefield. That’s why we want to alert young people about the harm that disinformation and hate speech can have on people protected by international humanitarian law (IHL) and those trying to protect and assist them.

    Denise Duran, the head of ICRC’s regional delegation in Warsaw

    The ICRC and its partners launched the nation-wide student essay competition at the 16th IHL Conference at the University of Gdansk. The competition is open to all registered students in Poland who have earned a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent diploma. Submissions are due by 1 September 2024.

    “Disinformation and hate speech can have serious implications on civilians, the wounded, the sick and the detained, as well as those working to help them. As the depository state of the Geneva Conventions, main instruments of IHL, Switzerland wants to hear young people’s voice on this growing concern.” said Matthias Dettling, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland.

    The ten best essays will be awarded prizes, starting with a selection of books on IHL through book vouchers and then the top prizes – participation in the Polish Red Cross IHL school and a two-day trip to Geneva.

    “As we commemorate 75 years of the Geneva Conventions and 70 years of their ratification by Poland, we want to hear from students in Poland and find out what is their analysis on how international humanitarian law applies today. What are the challenges in ensuring compliance with the rules in force and what gaps might exist? Such a reflection prepares our future leaders and professionals for navigating complex issues in an increasingly globalized world,” says Elżbieta Mikos-Skuza, Director of Studies in Poland of the Network of Humanitarian Action – an international association of universities – and the university coordinator of the essay competition.

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