THIS Southern African Republic is the destination in an all-expense paid travel for three winners of a contest for graduate students in seven countries, including the Philippines.

The contest, called “World Briefing: Telling the Malaria Story,” will choose among blog posts “that focuses on the current malaria burden and the ways in which [this] generation can make progress in the fight.”

According to the document sent by Rachel Alkon of New York, US-based Ruder Finn, the contest is open to graduate students in the United States, Ecuador, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Philippines and Venezuela, up to 35 years of age and currently enrolled at an accredited university.

Those eligible for these criteria can enter (how-to-enter) the contest through three steps: develop a blog post in English of 500 words or less; develop a “tweet” (or sentence of 140 characters or less) explaining why you should win the contest; and, sending the blog post, tweet and official documentation to by 11:59 PM EST on Monday, May 31, 2010.

“Contestants must provide a copy of a valid passport and official documentation verifying enrollment in a graduate program (e.g. transcript, admission letter) during the contest period (March 2010 – October 2010).”

The document said that between June 1 and June 12, 2010, “agents of the Contest Sponsors will evaluate all of the submissions and select the top six entries (two from each of the following regions: Latin America/Asia; Europe; and the United States) based on a set of criteria.

Contest Sponsors are nongovernment group Malaria No More and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The document said the entry will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

* Does the entry explain why the contestant’s generation should care about malaria, and what they can do to make progress?
* Does the entry illustrate a fresh perspective on the global effort to end malaria deaths?
* Does the entry illustrate what the applicant plans to do in his/her lifetime to help fight malaria?
* Does the entry explain how he/she will use the experience to educate/encourage others to join the fight against malaria?
* Is the entry concise and easy-to-read?
* Is the entry well-written?

The document said that between June 12 and June 26, 2010, the Sponsors will post the top six (6) submissions on Malaria No More’s contest Web site (

It is also during this period that “the general public will have the opportunity to review and vote for their favorite entry.”

“To determine the three winners, the Contest Sponsors will assemble a task force of judges from across the globe comprised of representatives from Novartis, Malaria No More, and/or a college professor or journalist. Between June 12 and June 26, 2010 the task force will also review and score the top 6 submissions based on the criteria described above. The Contest Sponsors will determine the three winners based on a weighted formula that considers the votes of the task force and general public."

The three winners will be announced the week of June 28 and will travel with the Novartis team to Zambia.

“During the trip, students will learn about current efforts underway to control malaria, travel to local clinics as well as meet with physicians, healthcare workers, patients, and leaders from the Novartis Malaria Initiatives team and Malaria No More.”

The contest fact sheet and official rules/guidelines available online at


Pinoys among youths in 6 countries vs. nuclear arms –survey

YOUNG people from the Philippines share the sentiments of their fellow members in Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International (SGI): no to nuclear weapons.

The survey conducted January to March 2010 revealed that majority (68.8% or 439) of the 638 youth from the Philippines says nuclear weapons don’t contribute to the peace and stability of the international community.

This reflects the majority view (59.6% or 2,598) of those polled in six countries: 4,362 people from their teens through 30s in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.

In a statement released Thursday, SGI said their members took the survey in advance of the 2010 Review Conference in May of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

According to a UN document, the NPT “is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.”

“The NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.”

The President-elect of the Review Conference is current Ambassador of the Philippines to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Libran N. Cabactulan.

The SGI poll revealed 67.3% said the use of nuclear weapons was not acceptable under any circumstances, with only 17.5% seeing it as acceptable as a last resort if a country's survival was threatened.

Some 369 (57.8%) youth polled from the Philippines said they don’t accept their use under any circumstances with 117 or 18.3% saying they accept the use of nuclear weapons as a last resort if a country's survival was threatened.

Interestingly, a hundred or 2.3 percent of those polled said they accept the use of nuclear weapons as a normal method of combat just like any other weapon. Thirty-five of these (5.5% of the total) came from the Philippines.

Some 264 youth (6.1%) said the use is acceptable to prevent international terrorism or genocide.

A total of 59.1% said they would feel safer if nuclear weapons were abolished.

A total of 395 youth polled from the Philippines (61.9%) said the same while 91 (14.3%) said they would feel otherwise. On the other hand, 131 (20.5%) said they’d neither feel safer or less safe while 21 had no answer.

Asked which countries possess nuclear weapons, 66.9% of the total number of respondents identified the US, 48.7% said Russia, 30% China, 19.8% the UK and 19.8% France.

Fewer respondents were aware of the nuclear weapons possessed by India, Pakistan and Israel, while 40.7% thought North Korea had them.

Within the nuclear states, just 59.2% of US respondents were aware that their country possessed nuclear weapons, and only 43.2% of UK respondents were aware of their country's possession.

A statement quoted SGI student group leader Takahisa Miyao as saying he is encouraged by the results.

"Building on the widespread rejection of nuclear weapons by youth is key to efforts toward their abolition."

Between January and March 2010, Soka Gakkai youth members in Japan collected 2,276,167 signatures on a petition calling for the adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention which would prohibit the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of nuclear weapons.

SGI said the 50-year-old group has 12 million members in 192 countries and territories.