The winners of the ‘Nagasaki Youth Peace Forum Contest’, organized last year by the Leiden Friends of Nagasaki Foundation and the City of Leiden, were announced on April 6 2021. The theme of this contest was ‘what if this happened to you’. What if an atomic bomb fell on your city, devasting everything, what message would you send to the world? Jury chairman Kris Schiermeier (Chairman of the SLVN and Director of Japan Museum SieboldHuis) and other jury members* congratulated winners Gijs van der Meij and Ib Brussee on winning this contest. An honorable mention went to Yaiden de Jong for his poem ‘Hope’.
The jury praised the contestants for their creativity in the short stories, poems, paintings, and songs they submitted. All contestants will receive a Manga Workshop at Japan Museum SieboldHuis, compliments of the SLVN.
17-year-old student at Bonaventura College, Gijs van der Meij, impressed the jury with his painting of a girl running through a devastated city. The jury applauded him for his originality and empathy in the execution of this work in which the city of Leiden and his sister played a role.
17-year-old Mare college student Ib Brussee also impressed the jury with her work, in particular the symbolism and the way she implemented colour to reflect both desperation and hope.
For his poem ‘Hope’ the 15-year-old Yaiden de Jong received a painting by Leiden artist Casper Faassen.
Both winners will participate in the Nagasaki Peace Forum on August 8 and 9 in Japan together with representatives from Nagasaki twin cities: St. Paul (USA); Santos (Brazil); Porto (Portugal); Fuzhou (China) and Vaux-sur-Aure (France). They will also be guests of honour at the memorial ceremonies on 9 August and will present their art works to the Mayor of Nagasaki, Tomihisa Taue. While in Japan Gijs and Ib will have the opportunity for a ‘home stay’ with a Japanese family to learn more about the city of Nagasaki and the cultural of Japan. Representatives of the SLVN will accompany the winners and all costs will be borne by the City of Nagasaki.