Designers from Denmark, Kosovo and France won the top three prizes in the UN European Ad Competition, No to Violence Against Women, UNRIC, the organizers, announced in Brussels 19 October.
It was announced that a jury, chaired by French advertising guru, Jacques Séguela, had awarded the first prize to Trine Sejthen, a designer and photographer from Denmark.
The jury prize of 5,000 euros will be given to Ms. Sejthen at a ceremony in Madrid in late November, expected to be presided over by Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, and organized by the Caixa Forum who donated the prize.
Over 2,700 entries from 40 European countries were submitted to the competition which was organized by UNRIC, the Brussels based UN Information Centre with the support of UN Women.
The aim of the competition is to increase awareness of a problem that affects one out of every three women worldwide. The winning ad will be published in several European newspapers at the conclusion of the competition on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Sejthen, the winner of the first prize, said she was surprised but very proud when she heard the news.
“I was very surprised. There are so many great entries and because this is the UN, a very important organization, this means a lot to me”, Sejthen told UNRIC on the phone from Copenhagen, where she has her own company with two other colleagues.
“I want people to think that this woman could be anybody, you can’t tell if she’s wealthy or poor, she could be your sister, friend or somebody next to you on the bus”, Sejthen says.
Over 120,000 votes were cast and the winner was Gioke Gojani from Kosovo. “I entered the competition because I was interested in the artistic side of designing a newspaper ad, but then I realized that the subject had touched my soul,” Mr. Gojani said when he accepted his prize, an iPad donated by the fashion company 3 Suisses, presented by UNFPA Belgian Goodwill Ambassador and media personality, Ms. Goedele Liekens. Speaking at the ceremony in Brussels, Ms Liekens pointed out that the media rarely report on the subject of violence against women since it is not considered “sexy”.
Raphaelle Moreau of France won the youth prize for her work “Words”. The youth prize winner was selected by Fabrica, the Benetton Group´s communications research centre.
The awards were announced at a ceremony in Brussels which also marked the opening of an exhibition of the works of the 30 finalists at the Harlan Levey Projects Gallery, realized with the support of the UN Office of the High Representative of Human Rights (OHCHR). The exhibition in Brussels is the first of many in Europe, including displays in Moscow, Prague and Kiev.
The ceremony was attended by Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education and Culture. The European Commission is one of several public and private partners of the UN´s European ad competition. Others include a coalition of more than 20 media partners all over Europe.
During the award ceremony Dagmar Schumacher, Director of the UN Women Brussels Office, recalled that violence against women is a global pandemic of alarming proportions which has no national, social, economic, cultural or religious boundaries.
Afsané Bassir-Pour, the Director of UNRIC, praised the enthusiasm with which Europeans joined the competition saying “our aim was to raise awareness on this issue, help break the taboo, and to do this by reaching out to the European creative community. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. So thank you Europeans.”
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