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Schools journalism competition focuses on plight of migrants

By Sarah Mac Donald - 11 October, 2017

School students aged 15-18 are being invited to take part in a student journalism competition which asks entrants to look at the plight of migrants and their place in our society.

Organised by the Missionary Society of St Columban, the initiative is one of a number of events marking the centenary of the Vatican’s formal recognition of the Columbans in 1918.

Teachers and parents are asked to alert young people to the journalism competition which invites participants to write an article or make a video report that informs, challenges and raises important issues on the topic: ‘Migrants Are Our Neighbours’.

Two separate strands will be held, one for students on the island of Ireland and one for students in England, Scotland, and Wales. Each has two categories, writing and video. The closing date for entries is 8 February 2018.

Leading journalists in Ireland and Britain will be judging the entries.

The judges for Irish entries are:
– Fionnán Sheahan – Editor of the Irish Independent.

– Patsy McGarry – Religious Affairs correspondent with The Irish Times.

– Michael Kelly – Editor of the Irish Catholic.

– Fr Bobby Gilmore SSC – writes and campaigns on migrant issues.

The winning articles and videos will be announced in Columban media on 15 March 2018. There are cash prizes.

The objective of the competition is to encourage students to use their writing and mobile skills to look at a topical issue which is relevant to Catholic Social Teaching and resonates with Columban mission.

Since 2000, the Missionary Society of St Columban has committed itself in a special way to continue accompanying and defending the rights of migrants, and to address the underlying causes of the migration of peoples.

Pope Francis has on many occasions underlined Church teaching about welcoming the stranger, notably when he said, “We have a duty toward our brothers and sisters who, for various reasons, have been forced to leave their homeland: a duty of justice, of civility and of solidarity.”

Migrant and interfaith work has been a Columban priority in the 16 countries where the Columbans work.

In Ireland, the Columbans run the ‘Columban Centre’ in Dublin which welcomes asylum seekers and provides English classes.

Columban, Fr Bobby Gilmore, was a founder member and is on the board of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland.

In Britain, Columbans have engaged with immigrant communities and help run a house of sanctuary in Birmingham called Fatima House for women asylum seekers.

Columbans have participated in ‘Welcome the Stranger’ Walks of Witness in London and Birmingham and there is a long-standing ministry to domestic workers.

Prizes for the Irish competition will be presented by the former president of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese, on 29 June 2018.

All details on the Competition website: www.columbancompetition.com

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