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Friday, February 17, 2012

Letter-writing contest winners close Year of Forests

09.02.2012 - The joint first-prize winners of the 2011 UPU international letter-writing competition for young people were part of the International Year of Forests closing ceremony, held on Thursday 9 February at United Nations headquarters.
 China's Wang Sa reading her letter at the closing ceremony for the International Year of Forests (UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)
China’s Wang Sa, 14, came to New York to read her letter in person. CharlĂ©e Gittens from Barbados addressed the audience by video.
The under secretary-general for economic and social affairs, Sha Zukang, opened the ceremony, which included a celebration of forest heroes – men and women worldwide whose often life-long efforts to protect forests in their countries were recognized.
The International Year of Forests raised awareness of forests’ impact on biodiversity, food, shelter, medicine production, the reduction of climate change and more.
Jan McAlpine, the UN Forum on Forests’ director, lauded the UPU competition for helping to draw attention to the plight of forests among more than two million young people who participated worldwide.
First trip abroad
For Wang Sa, from Zhejiang Province, the trip to New York is her first abroad. During the closing ceremony, she met with UN under secretary-general Sha, who is also from China.
The UPU’s international letter-writing competition is entering its 41st year. In the lead up to London 2012, this year’s competition asks young people to write a letter to an athlete or a sports personality they admire to tell them what the Olympic Games mean to them. Upwards of 60 countries are expected to participate in the competition, first organizing the competition on their respective territories and sending the best national letter to the UPU in Berne, Switzerland, for judging at the international level.
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