Kid Witness News (KWN) Regional Champions from the Middle East were among the biggest winners of the KWN Global Contest 2019 held in Tokyo, Japan. The UAE team from Elite Private School in Abu Dhabi bagged the ‘Kid’s Choice Award’ in Senior Category for their original video production ‘Mirage’. Pakistan’s The City School, meanwhile, clinched the ‘Young Changemakers’ Award’ for their entry ‘Earth Has Fever’. Organized by Panasonic, the annual awards ceremony for the KWN global contest was held as a part of the KWN Global Summit 2019 Week in Tokyo from July 31st to August 2nd.
The Kid's Choice Award is an honour given to the videos – one each from the senior and junior categories – voted most by the children who participated in the KWN contest. The eight-member team Elite Private School produced ‘Mirage’ to raise awareness on the consequences of excessive social media use amongst teenagers, specifically on the way smartphones distract the youth from reality.
The Young Changemakers’ Award, on the other hand, acknowledges children who are changing the world to be a better place. The City School’s entry depicting the detrimental impact of deforestation on earth’s inhabitants sends out an inspiring message about global warming, which is one of the most pressing challenges of this era.
The event also feted two Grand Prix winners as well as awardees for other main categories, which brought together around 70 participants from 18 schools representing 12 countries. In addition to the Award Ceremony, the KWN Global Summit 2019 also provided a host of other special activities for kid journalists, including a cross-cultural experience through icebreaker and video presentations, as well as a series of video production workshops.
Commenting on their award, a very excited member of the UAE team, Leen Ghaddar, said, “We were more than proud to have come this far, being given the honor to represent the Middle East in the global contest. We were truly elated to be a part of such a great initiative. But being here, being a part of an amazing group of talented kids, and to top it all, being a favorite by winning the Kid’s Choice Award in Senior Category, is something beyond our dreams! We want to share this success with everyone who supported us in creating the video, especially our teachers, and of course Panasonic and KWN for giving us this opportunity.”
Other members of the winning team from UAE were Souzan Monzer, Mariyam Mokhtar, Mira Al Dhaheri, Khlaed Al Hosani and Maitha Alyafei.
Ms. Saba Khaled – Head Mistress, The City School Karachi commented: “Our students winning the Young Changemakers’ Award is an experience beyond compare and we cannot thank Panasonic enough for this fantastic endeavour. Through KWN, Panasonic is able to let children dream big while developing the skills needed to pursue and accomplish these dreams. But more than that, Panasonic helps these very young minds understand the world in which they live, empowering them to catalyse positive social change in their local communities. We hope to see more KWN summits continue to change more lives and make a difference in the years to come.”
The team from The City School were comprised of 12 members.
“On behalf of Panasonic and the dedicated team behind KWN, we would like to congratulate the teams for their success as well as everyone who participated. We have always been committed to spearheading initiatives like the KWN that support and encourage beautiful possibilities, and with the help of the Panasonic technology, be able to make a difference in the society. We hope that in the future, more kids will seize the opportunities presented by KWN and therefore become compassionate global citizens committed to help Panasonic create ‘a better life, a better world.’” commented Honey Sanadhya – PR Manager, Panasonic Marketing Middle East & Africa FZE.
KWN is an international video education program supported by Panasonic that aims to stimulate children’s creativity, build communication skills and foster teamwork through original video production. Opened to primary and secondary school students across the Middle East, this year’s edition of KWN encouraged participants to come up with video concepts – news, documentary or drama – that reflect ‘The World Through Their Eyes’. The five-minute human-interest videos touched on themes important to the students and their respective communities, such as Environment, Communication or Sports.
The KWN is a hands-on video education program that Panasonic operates as part of its efforts to support education for the next generation. As an interactive educational program, Panasonic supplies participating schools with video equipment and the videos they produce are judged in contests every year. The children complete the entire production process by themselves, from planning to investigation, filming and editing.
First launched in the United States in 1989, KWN has now been running for 30 years with a total of more than 180,000 children and their teachers taking part so far. As for this year, around 3,800 people took part from 12 different countries around the world, with video submissions from 315 schools. The five-minute videos were produced on three broad themes - "communications", "environment", and "sports" - as the children offered their own unique perspectives on issues close to them like sports, global environment, and people who have dealt with families, disabilities and PTSD.
This year’s judging panel included Yuichi Ito, Professor of Animation, Executive Director of Japan Animation Association; Dai Tamesue, Japanese record holder for Men’s 400 meters hurdles as of June 2019; Kazuo Ishida, Senior Manager/Producer Panasonic visuals Co. Ltd.; Rika Fukuda, General Manager CSR and Citizenship Department Groupwide, Brand Communications Division, Panasonic Corporations; Shingo Yamazaki, General Manager, Corporate Advertising Officer, Advertising Department Groupwide Brand Communication Division, Panasonic Corporation.
Panasonic will soon announce the KWN 2020 Contest dates for schools across the Middle East Region.