13-year old girl from Cyprus scoops UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition

08.10.2018 - Thirteen year old Chara Phoka from Cyprus has won the Universal Postal Union’s prestigious 47th International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People.

Her winning letter boldly confronted issues such as conflict and migrant smuggling by telling the harrowing story of a letter’s journey from South Asia to Europe.

A select group of international judges chose Chara’s letter after a global competition involving around 60 countries and more than 1.2 million children.

Speaking about the letter, the Deputy Director General of the UPU Pascal Clivaz said, “Chara’s letter is a mirror reflecting the fears and concerns of young people everywhere. Those worries today are overwhelmingly about conflict and its terrible impact on countries and communities. It is something that we, as the international community, must help change.”    

The prize giving ceremony for the competition will take place on 9th October at the Berne, Switzerland, headquarters of UPU. Chara will receive at the ceremony a gold medal and read out her timely letter to an audience of diplomats, other dignitaries and UPU staff. 

The theme of the 2018 competition was “Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?”

The winners of the 47th International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People, 2018 are as follows: 

Top three winners:

  • 1st Prize – Gold Medal, Chara Phoka, 13, Cyprus
  • 2nd Prize – Silver Medal, José Duarte, 10, Portugal
  • 3rd Prize – Bronze Medal, Nguyen Thi Bach Duong, 14, Viet Nam

Special mentions:

  • Ivana Petrova Pojarska, 15, Bulgaria
  • Clarice Rilyane Oliveira da Silva, 15, Brazil
  • Brenda Wambui Mwangi, 13, Kenya
  • Tereza Justina Vaneková, 13, Slovakia
  • Manja Klemencic, 15, Slovenia

* *** *

The International Letter-Writing Competition has since 1971 encouraged young writers aged 9-15 to write letters on a given theme to win exciting prizes. On average over 1.2 million young people take part and the competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies. It develops their skills in composition and fosters enjoyment of letter writing and helps strengthen the bonds of international friendship.

World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October. The event was declared by the 1969 Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo as a means to mark the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) creation in 1874. The purpose of World Post Day is to bring awareness to the Post’s role in the everyday lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to global social and economic development.

For media accreditation, please contact:

David Dadge

Manager, Communication and Events Programme

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Executive Office Directorate

T +41 31 350 31 23

E david.dadge[at]upu.int

Press release


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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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