Prior's Field September 2018

Highly Commended in Financial Times World Today Competition

Published Thursday 20th of June 2019 03:48:57 PM

Many congratulations to Lower Sixth Canfordian Sophie Bearblock who was Highly Commended by the judges in this year’s prestigious World Today writing competition in conjunction with the Financial Times. The question posed was ‘If you were UN Secretary-General for a day, what would be your first action, and why?’ No easy task to answer, but Sophie focused on the very pertinent current issue of mental health, and in particular the mental health and wellbeing of refugees. Humanitarian aid concentrates on providing food, shelter and medical treatment – much needed immediate support – but once the initial crisis has passed, the mental effects of facing the situation refugees find themselves in can be long term and wide ranging. With the global population of displaced persons exceeding 65 million, it is a serious problem and as UN Secretary-General, Sophie would hope to raise funds and parliamentary awareness through a press campaign. The UN Secretary-General’s envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, a member of the judging panel, was very impressed: “This entry was specifically targeted at a very often ignored issue of immigrants. It proposed solutions from different angles, from implementing infrastructure, generating awareness of the refugees’ situation, to distributing long-term mental health care. It was a great analysis with solid examples.” Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, said: “I particularly liked the proposal to provide mental health professionals to work in refugee camps, for a number of reasons. It is an original idea that highlights a big, but neglected problem. The proposal is clearly written and well-researched. And it is practical and plausible - rather than "visionary" but empty.” Alan Philps, Editor of World Today, commented that it was a real pleasure to read Sophie’s entry, saying “I want to congratulate you on your excellent submission being highly commended by the judges.” Tom Marriott, Head of Academic Enrichment at Canford, commented: “Through our enrichment programmes we offer a number of internal essay competitions each year, alongside regular presentations for discussion by our pupils on a wide range of current affairs topics. We complement this by encouraging pupils to enter external competitions such as the Oxbridge ones each year, and I am delighted that Sophie’s paper has been highly commended by such a well respected judging panel. I was impressed with the high quality of Sophie’s paper which has been placed alongside other latest writings on the Canford blog as inspiration and food for thought for all with an interest in developing their knowledge.” Sophie was thrilled to receive the news of her success: “I feel very strongly about the issue of mental health, and wanted to highlight it as a global problem affecting people from all walks of life. It would be great to ultimately see a positive outcome as a result of my paper, and I am delighted it was received so positively by the envoy. I really enjoyed entering this competition and it offered a unique opportunity for people my age to present their views.” Head to the Canford blog page to read Sophie’s complete paper– www.canford.com/Academic-Blog
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