> Alhassan Darboe's essay prize
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
Alhassan Darboe (right) receiving his prize from
US Ambassador Mr Barry L Wells (left)
Our thanks to the
Embassy in Banjul for permission
to use this photo, which is their copyright. Read more about the essay competition on the
Daily Observer website. See also
Pageant News Blog, and profiles of
some of the Blog