While International Education Week 2013 seems so long ago, here at Ayusa Headquarters we’ve been busy reviewing all of IEW Contest entries! The Ayusa students who participated in this event sponsored by the Department of State sent in applications that truly proved Ayusa students are fantastic junior ambassadors! We loved reading about their presentations and the impact each has made on their host community.
From a number of remarkable entries, our selection committee is excited to announce the winner of the IEW 2013 contest is Haytham from Gaza! Our two runners-up are Tifani from Indonesia and Tuyen from the Czech Republic! Congrats to you three and thank you to all who submitted their presentation – You all did an amazing job!
Our first place winner of the IEW contest goes to Haytham from Gaza. Haytham, pictured above (photo credit Tom Morphet), is a student of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program and stood out to the judges as a clear winner for his efforts at reaching out to his local community in Haines, Alaska. He gave presentations both in his school and the local library. 70 people from the local community attended his library presentation, where he talked about Palestine’s history, holy places, poets, presidents, traditions and the political issue with Israel. The talk was covered both by the local press and radio and Haytham answered many questions from the audience. What impressed the judges most was his maturity in speaking about his country and global issues. His teacher said of his presentation: “It really made the students in my class think seriously about global issues they had never learned about. The students said they learned more in his presentation than they had all year. It had that much impact.” Haytham also constructed an origami paper craft of a peacock, a symbol of peace in Palestine, which took two months and thousands of pieces of paper to make as a gift for his school.
One of our two runners-up is Tifani from Indonesia. Like Haytham, Tifani is also a YES student and impressed the judges with her enthusiasm and imaginative yet educational presentation. Located in Buckley, Washington, she gave eight presentations over five days. Her presentations included singing traditional songs in Choir, giving a powerpoint presentation and an Indonesian food tasking in Key Club, and teaching her fellow students how to dance a traditional Indonesian dance which they performed, filmed and uploaded to youtube. She also presented in her local youth activity center as well as in an elementary school and middle school. Her extensive preparation and her personal enthusiasm in teaching her local community about all aspects of Indonesian culture was what caught the judges attention. From her native language, to food, customs and traditional dress she went all out to immerse Buckely in a true Indonesian experience for a week!
Our other runner-up is Tuyen from the Czech Republic. Tuyen is a great example of cultural cross-pollination. While born in Vietnam, she has lived in the Czech Republic since she was 8-years-old. As a result, Tuyen was able to discuss two very diverse cultures and how they intersect in her life during International Education Week. By presenting her unique perspective at four different venues, Tuyen was able to share her cultural experience with 400 people! Tuyen also held a language lesson, chopstick tutorial and had a raffle with gifts representing both of her cultures—Czech Spa Waffles and a coupon for a Vietnamese Restaurant. Tuyen really went all out, not just limiting herself to one location, and one group of people. By speaking and interacting at an elementary school, a high school, a technical college, and a church Tuyen served as an ambassador for both the Czech Republic and Vietnam and presented a positive message to a wide range of people in her host family’s community in Georgia.
We would also like to give an honor mention to two students for their extra efforts and creativity:
- Jonah from Germany - Placed in Comfrey, Minnesota, Jonah spent many hours of work creating his own website, which includes live footage and a 3D game which he built himself. You can see the website and play the game here
- Kennedy from Taiwan – Placed in Zachary, Louisiana, Kennedy included a fundraiser for a children’s home in Honduras as part of his IEW presentation.
Thank you to all of our student who presented and sent in their entries! Everyone was did an amazing job!