A University of Essex law student has been given the opportunity to present her work at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York after winning an international essay competition.
Yasmin Afina, a first-year undergraduate in the School of Law, is a winner in the English category of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Student Essay Contest which required students to write about global citizenship and multilingualism.
The competition had more than 1,500 entries from universities in over 120 countries. Students entered in to one of six language categories, based on the official languages of the United Nations, and could not write in their first language.
Yasmin’s winning essay was inspired by her own experiences as an Indonesian living in Switzerland and France. She explored the advantages of being multilingual and able to move between cultures but also the personal effect it has had on her: “I still do not know whether I actually belong more to the Indonesian or the Swiss/French culture.”
Commenting on the cultural diversity of the University, which has students from more than 130 countries, and how it has influenced her, Yasmin said: “Through societies such as the Model United Nations, in which I am really actively involved, it really helped me meeting new people and to talk with them and interact.”
She added that the trip to New York would be an opportunity to “prove to the world that the University has a real international prestige and the students of the University can really have a global impact.”
Yasmin will take part in a five-day International Youth Forum and present her work in New York in June.
Listen to Yasmin explain how our global community helped her win a top essay prize, and other student success stories, on our Soundcloud channel
Professor Noam Lubell, Head of the School of Law, said: “This is a wonderful achievement for Yasmin who is a student on our prestigious LLB English and French Law, and was supported by Dr Yseult Marique. Our School of Law is a culturally-diverse community of lawyer-practitioners, researchers and students actively engaged in legal debates of international significance, and we are committed to bringing our global outlook into all aspects of our teaching. The School is delighted to see Yasmin’s success in this competition. Yasmin has worked hard and produced a fantastic essay, and we are extremely proud of her achievement.”
Dr Manuela Nocker, the University’s representative for UNAI, and also the UN Global Compact initiative, added: “Yasmin is a great example of proactive behaviour and the kind of socially responsible awareness and engagement we seek to promote in our University. She shows that our students can have global impact when reflecting upon the ‘big themes’ in society by making a first step to take action. Yasmin is thus a wonderful ambassador of the University approach and values.”