Brock’s UNESCO Chair to celebrate 2021 Sustainability Poetry Contest winners with virtual event

Brock University’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair is inviting members of the University and broader community to attend a free, online poetry event.

The 2022 Poetry Day Celebration will take place at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 21 on Lifesize. Everyone is welcome to attend the celebration, which will include a live poetry reading, the announcement of the winners of the 2022 Sustainability Poetry Contest, and a discussion on the role the written word plays in advancing local sustainability efforts.

Brock UNESCO Chair Liette Vasseur said she looks forward to congratulating the winners — even if it must be through a computer screen for another year.

“We have experienced many challenges over the past two years and while we wish we could come together in person for this special event, we still look forward to celebrating the community spirit that is fostered from sharing a love of poetry with one another,” said Vasseur. “The celebration is a wonderful way to recognize the hard work and effort made by all of the entrants in the Sustainability Poetry Contest, and the important role that poetry plays in our societies.”

The celebration aligns with UNESCO World Poetry Day, which has been celebrated on March 21 every year since 1999. The celebration highlights how poetry can be used as a social tool to bring awareness to social issues, give a voice to the community, promote linguistic diversity, and change the way people view their place in the world.

In the lead-up to the event, Brock’s UNESCO chair invited Niagara poets to submit their original, unpublished poetry, in English or French, to the annual poetry contest.

The theme for the 2022 contest was “Beyond Sustainability,” which relates to the Brock-led transdisciplinary research project of the same name.

All the winners will be announced and given the opportunity to read their poems aloud during the event. Each winner will also receive a small prize and have their work published in the forthcoming annual eBook for this year’s contest.

The decision to host the event online again this year was made of an abundance of caution related to ever-changing pandemic conditions.

While Vasseur looks forward to once more celebrating together next year, she said it is important to continue the tradition of sharing views of the world through creative means — in any capacity.

“It is more important than ever for us to think critically about how we interact with not just one another, but with all of the creatures and systems on our planet,” she said. “We have been inspired by the insights on this presented by the poets this year and look forward to having meaningful conversations about how we can contribute to a better future for us all.”

Everyone is welcome to attend and can access the celebration here on Monday, March 21 at 5 p.m.

For more information about the contest and to read eBooks from previous years, please visit the UNESCO Chair website. The Sustainability Poetry Contest­­­­ will resume in 2023 under the topic of UN Decades on Ecosystem Restoration and Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. More details will be announced later this year and all Niagara poets are once again encouraged to participate.

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