Youth acclaimed at UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People

09.10.2019 - Richemelle Francilia Somissou Koukoui from Benin has won the Universal Postal Union’s 48th International Letter Writing Competition for Young People. The theme of the competition was write a letter about your hero.

In a ceremony held on World Post Day, 9 October, at the Universal Postal Union’s headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, the gold medal was given to Annick d’Almeida representing the Permanent Mission of Geneva.

Koukoui was unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony; she will, however, be invited to attend a special event celebrating the letter later in the year. The fourteen-year-old’s letter is a celebration of her Uncle.

“I hope that you stay as strong as Hercules, as feisty as Samson and, finally, as quick as Lucky Luke, my favourite heroes,” says Richmelle in the letter. She goes on to write, “To grow up, humanity needs to take the values of past heroes to heart.”

In remarks at the awards ceremony, the UPU’s Deputy Director General, Pascal Clivaz, said that the letters revealed the confident, articulate voices of children, of youths, of young people from across the world.

He compared the writers to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist. Speaking about Thunberg he said, “She is the voice of a generation speaking to us about environmentalism. She is a warning to us all that, as adults, we must never be complacent about the world around us. A voice that implores us all to strive together for a better world.”

Mr Clivaz also read out the message of the UN Secretary General António Guterres. Mr Guterres said, On World Post Day, I congratulate the UPU on its 145th anniversary and look forward to the continued contributions of the world’s postal networks as we strive together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Gibraltar’s Alana Sacarello came second behind Koukoui, followed by Azerbaijan’s Leyla Dadashova in third place. Millions of young people all over the world, up to age 15, participate in the annual International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People at the national and international levels since its launch in 1971.

The competition encourages literacy in children and young people. It develops their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly. The contest also makes them aware of the important role postal services play in our world.


The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is one of the world’s oldest international organizations and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.


For further information, please contact:

David Dadge

Manager, Communication and Events Programme

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Executive Office Directorate

T +41 31 350 31 23


Press release


Comments (1)

  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
    Test comment.

Write new comment

CAPTCHA image for SPAM prevention If you can't read the word, click here.