The third-annual Mazda Make Things Better Award gets under way this afternoon in Barcelona during a special workshop at Mazda Space. The Japanese carmaker will accept submissions during the Modern Tools of Advocacy session it organised as part of the Youth Programme at the 15th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which also begins today. Open to workshop participants aged between 18 and 30, the €10,000 competition rewards the proposal that makes the most innovative, creative and effective use of modern tools of advocacy like the internet to improve people’s everyday lives in some respect.
Mazda expects some 200 to attend the workshop. It starts with a keynote address from former South African President F. W. de Klerk, whose efforts to end apartheid won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 together with Nelson Mandela. The session then brings in two seasoned journalists: Yalda Hakim, host of the BBC’s Newsnight; and Chris Burns, Euronews host and communication consultant. They will provide a media perspective on the use of tools of advocacy, also offering advice to Mazda Make Things Better Award applicants about presenting and promoting their projects. Afterwards, workshop participants will have time to finalise and hand in their submissions, including materials prepared in advance – something permitted for the first time this year. The winner is to be announced in spring. Prior to that, finalists shortlisted by the jury in January will have the chance to submit detailed proposals.
If the past two competitions provide any indication, the young applicants should deliver some outstanding ideas. The inaugural award at the 2013 summit in Warsaw attracted more than 120 submissions. The winner was Antti Junkkari, a Finnish medical student whose initiative took aim at gun violence in Africa, raising awareness about the dangers and resolving conflict through interactive radio programmes. Then, Japanese international relations student Yuka Kawamura won the contest launched last year in Rome for her bid to set up an online platform offering free tutoring and mentoring services to youths around the world. The idea is to offer help to anyone who wants it, particularly pupils from economically and educationally weaker environments. She launched a pilot project in September in the Philippines to a very positive response and will begin phase two in Japan in January.
“Both award winners have faced major hurdles. But as we at Mazda know very well, overcoming obstacles is part of the challenger experience,” says Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton. “One purpose of the Mazda Make Things Better Award is to help dedicated young people like these gain valuable hands-on experience trying to change and enrich the world – something that is vital for tomorrow’s prospective leaders.”