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Alhassan Darboe wins essay competition

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February has been celebrated as Black History Month in the United States since 1976, and this year the inauguration of Barack Obama, America's first African-American president, lends Black History Month a special significance. US Embassies all over the world celebrate Black History Month in various ways. In The Gambia, the US Embassy organised an essay competition with the objective of encouraging students to read and write about African-American history and particularly to focus on how that history relates to the history of The Gambia. The competition was open to all senior secondary school students, with four suggested topics:

  • What can the world learn from the U.S. experience with race relations, which have come through many dark periods, but now have resulted in the election of the first African American President in the United States?

  • What hopes do you have for President Obama's administration and how do you think The Gambia can benefit from the new administration?

  • What is the importance of Education and its impact on peace, freedom, justice and prosperity?

  • Culture is an important connection between any two nations. What do you see as an important cultural connection between the peoples of The Gambia and the United States? How can we improve on the cultural link between the two people?

Twenty-one students participated in the competition. Three students with the best essays received cash prizes, and their schools received educational supplies.

In first place was Alhassan Darboe, a student at Nusrat Senior Secondary School. Second place went to Foday Jawo, of the Gambia Senior Secondary School and third place to Seedy Njie of Glory Baptist Senior Secondary School. Ambassador Barry L. Wells presented the prizes at a ceremony at the US Embassy complex on 10 March 2009.

Alhassan and his twin brother Sainey are members of Pageant's News Blog team in The Gambia. They both have the ambition to become journalists, and you can tell from the quality of their writing that they both have a great future in that profession. Alhassan's education is sponsored by an American lady, who met him during a holiday in The Gambia in 2006.

Alhassan Darboe receiving his prize from US Ambassador Mr Barry L Wells

Alhassan Darboe (right) receiving his prize from
US Ambassador Mr Barry L Wells (left)

Our thanks to the US Embassy in Banjul for permission to use this photo, which is their copyright. Read more about the essay competition on the Gambian Daily Observer website. See also the Pageant News Blog, and profiles of some of the Blog Team.


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