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  December 1999    

Essay contest winners receive awards
Since 1983, the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation for Cooperation with the United Nations University has sponsored an annual essay contest open to international participation by anyone with an interest in the UNU and the selected topic, regardless of age or nationality. The author of the top essay receives a grand prize of 500,000 Japanese yen, and multiple second-place prizes of 200,000 Japanese yen each and third-place prizes of 50,000 Japanese yen are also awarded.

The theme of the 1998 Sato Foundation Essay Contest was "The UN's Role in the Globalization Process." The contest winners received their awards at a 21 June 1999 award ceremony held at the UNU Centre. Presenting the awards was Mr. Michiya Matsukawa, Chairman of the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation and former Finance Ministry official.

Winner of the 1998 contest's top award was Ms. Yasuyo Fujimoto, a postgraduate student at London University. Her English essay assessed the capability of the United Nations to "bear the burden to maintain international peace security in the era of globalization." One member of the awards committee commented that Ms. Fujimoto discussed the topic "as if she had anticipated the current turmoil in Yugoslavia."

Winners of the 1998 contest's second-place awards were Mr. Ryuji Mukae, a visiting associate professor at New York University; Mr. Chiharu Yabe, a student at Keio University (Tokyo); and Mr. Hidenobu Kojima, a student at Chuo University (Tokyo). Third-place awards went to Mr. Isao Ima, a member of the Establishing Committee for World Insurance Organization, and Mr. Norihito Kubota, a post-graduate student at Tokyo University.

For the 1999 international essay contest, the foundation selected "The UN's Potential Role in Resolving Ethnic Conflicts" as the essay topic. This theme was particularly relevant, the contest organizers said, because "recent years have seen a rise in the number and severity of ethnic conflicts throughout the world. Yet, as events in Yugoslavia and Kosovo have made clear, the United Nations is seemingly unable to offer any tangible solutions to prevent or resolve such conflicts." Essays were requested to "analyze the prevailing situation and discuss how the UN could most effectively intervene in future ethnic conflicts."

Submission deadline for the 1999 contest was 30 November, and winners will be announced in spring 2000. For complete information about the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation Essay Contest, contact the UNU Public Affairs Section. (See the last page of this UNU Nexions for contact information.)

It was the late Eisaku Sato who, during his tenure as Prime Minister of from 1964 to 1972, initiated Japan's decision to host the United Nations University. Although former Prime Minister Sato died in June 1975, three months before the UNU Centre began its operations in Tokyo, he reconfirmed his commitment to the UNU in his will by stipulating that the cash award accompanying his 1974 Nobel Peace Prize should be used to establish a foundation to provide continuing support for the development of the UNU. That generous bequest forms the basis of the Eisaku Sato Memorial Foundation for Cooperation with the United Nations University.

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