ELS and the United Nations sponsor Many Languages, One World Student Essay Contest!

ELS and the United Nations sponsor Many Languages, One World Student Essay Contest!

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Winners of the Many Languages, One World contest at the United Nations General Assembly in New York

From ELS Language Centers:

For a second year, ELS Language Centers and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) sponsored the Many Languages, One World Student Essay Contest at the United Nations in New York City. There were more than 1200 entrants to this year’s contest. Full-time university students from around the world were asked to write an essay examining the post-2015 global development agenda of the United Nations.

70 winners represented more than 42 countries and were invited to attend the MLOW Global Youth Forum in Garden City, New York at Adelphi University in July, 2015.

Essays were submitted in one of the six languages of the United Nations and were written in a language that was not the student’s first language nor in his/her primary language of instruction. The official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Below are winners from Jiangsu University in China, the University of Vienna in Austria and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Elvis Amissah at the UN Podium 

Elvis Amissah

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: Chinese

One of seven children, Elvis Amissah grew up in Ghana. His mother, a teacher, currently resides in the United States. Mr. Amissah is living and pursuing a degree in China. His interests include music – he enjoys listening to music, singing and playing several musical instruments – as well as drawing, badminton and volleyball.

Mr. Amissah credits language learning with teaching him to coexist with others and accept different peoples’ cultures and perceptions. He has ideas about how to improve conditions in Africa, which motivated him to enter the Many Languages, One World contest. Mr. Amissah learned Chinese out of pure interest in the Chinese culture and language. He also acknowledges that there are Chinese speakers all over the world and that China is a powerful world economy, so knowing the language may prove to be advantageous for him, especially if he needs to treat a Chinese-speaking patient someday.

Mr. Amissah is pursuing his Bachelor of Medicine at Jiangsu University in China. He plans to return to Ghana to complete his Master’s degree and become a medical doctor in the future. 

Joseph Magoua at the UN Podium 


Joseph Magoua

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: Chinese

Joseph Magoua was raised in Cameroon with his two parents and three sisters. He is currently living and studying in Zhenjiang, China. He is interested in architectural design, as well as playing musical instruments and studio music recording. He spends much of his free time playing music with his band.

Mr. Magoua currently has command of three international languages – English, French and Chinese – and he says that his multilingualism has opened many job opportunities for him. He has been able to participate in more activities and has earned distinctions for his linguistic abilities. In participating in Many Languages, One World, Mr. Magoua hoped to meet and learn from people who, like him, believe in the importance of multilingualism. Mr. Magoua learned Chinese because of a lifelong interest in the language and culture, and he then decided to pursue his education in China. He knows that in the future he will have business encounters with Chinese companies, so he his motivated to continue to study the language in order to become a bridge.

Mr. Magoua is pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering at Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China. He is quite impressed with his university’s programs and instructors, as well as the opportunities the school offers him to participate in professional skill development programs. He hopes to pursue his Master’s degree in the future, possibly in the United States.

Siwathep Singh Khanderpor at the UN Podium 


Siwathep Singh Khanderpor

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: Chinese

Siwathep Singh Khanderpor is a Thai national of Indian descent. His family resides on a small island in southern Thailand called Koh Samui. He grew up with his mother, one older brother and one older sister. Mr. Khanderpor’s multilingualism and energetic disposition have made him a very popular master of ceremonies (MC) or host for events at his university, and he is also passionate about teaching English to kindergarten-age children in China and doing volunteer work.

Mr. Khanderpor grew up exposed to multiple languages because his Indian parents raised him in Thailand. After graduating from his English-speaking high school, he moved to China to study medicine, which obliged him to learn Chinese in order to communicate with his peers and successfully absorb information in his classes. He now has command of four languages, which he says has helped him better understand the similarities and differences between cultures. He chose to write his winning essay in Chinese because he believes that, of the four languages he knows, Chinese is the language that he needs to work on most, and he hopes that his participation in Many Languages, One World will give him the opportunity to work on his Chinese skills.

Mr. Khanderpor is pursuing a degree in Medicine at Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China, and he is president of the university’s Medical Association. He aspires to become a heart surgeon after completing his studies.

Elisabeth Resch at the UN Podium 


Elisabeth Resch

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: English

Elisabeth Resch’s family lives in Krems, a city near Vienna in Austria, but Ms. Resch’s quest for new knowledge and experience has led her to spend much of her young life traveling around the world. Her interests include literature, languages, trying new foods, hiking and dance.

Ms. Resch chose to write her essay in English, a language that she learned during school in Austria and solidified during a year-long high school exchange program in Australia. It was during her year abroad that she realized how powerful language could be when forging connections with other people. Her recent travels in Latin America strengthened this realization when she noticed how much easier it was to connect with locals and get to know the true culture of a place by understanding the language. 

Currently, Ms. Resch is in New York interning at the United Nations. She recently graduated from a Law program in Vienna and was able to travel abroad extensively during that program. She is now enrolled in a Master’s program in International Development in Vienna. She hopes in the future that she will have contributed to making the world a better place. 

Iván Ovejero at the UN Podium 


Iván Ovejero

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: English

Iván Ovejero grew up with his brother and parents in Argentina. He is currently living and studying in Vienna, Austria. His interests include reading nonfiction, learning how things work, and interacting with different people from all walks of life.

Mr. Ovejero believes that multilingualism has allowed him to learn about the world beyond his home country. He has gained a sense of community beyond national borders now that he has command of more than one language. He chose to learn English, the language of his winning essay, because many of the topics that interest him are usually talked and written about in English, so in order to learn more about his interests, English was very useful to him.

Mr. Ovejero is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Studies at the University of Vienna. In the future, he would like to work at an international organization such as the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice.

Monika Austaller at the UN Podium 


Monika Austaller

2015 Many Languages, One World Student Essay Contest Winner

Essay Language: Spanish

Monika Austaller was born in Gmunden, Austria and studied in Vienna. Her parents Anna and Hermann met in India and were teachers.  

Ms. Australler traveled since she was a child and always had a strong interest in languages.  The Many Languages, One World competition allowed her to write about an issue that has personal importance to her: the right to food.

Ms. Australler has recently finished her Bachelor’s Degree in International Development at the University of Vienna.  She will begin her Master’s Program in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business.  In five years, she hopes to work in international politics regarding humanitarian aid.

José Antonio Montes González at the UN Podium 


José Antonio Montes González

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: Chinese

José Antonio Montes González grew up in Mexico City with his younger sister and parents. Mr. Montes González still lives and is studying in Mexico. In addition to his studies, he and a friend run a Spanish-language internet podcast focused on health and science issues with the goal of helping people make healthy choices and avoid misunderstandings. He also teaches Mandarin.

Since childhood, Mr. Montes González has been fascinated by the immensity of the world, and his fascination let him to learn and understand as much as he could. He believes that language is the key to achieving this understanding. His father, who worked for a Chinese company, encouraged him to learn Chinese, and Mr. Montes González later met a Taiwanese friend during a trip to France who also motivated him to study the language.

Mr. Montes González is currently studying Medicine at UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He would like to be an advocate of global health promotion and access to medical care by working for an international organization such as WHO or PAHO. He would also like to use his multilingual skills to work as an interpreter.

Joseph Hilaire Junior at the UN Podium 


Joseph Hilaire Junior

2015 Many Languages, One World Essay Contest Winner

Essay language: Spanish

Joseph Hilaire Junior grew up with his family in Haiti. He credits his father with instilling in him the value of academic studies, while he says that his mother taught him the importance of respecting other people. Mr. Hilaire’s varied interests include mathematics, linguistics, computer programming, traveling and graphic design. He is currently living and studying in Mexico.

Mr. Hilaire speaks four languages and is planning to learn to speak five others. He values multilingualism because it has enabled him to better communicate with and understand people from different cultures. He was motivated to participate in the Many Languages, One World Student Essay Contest because he wanted the opportunity to share his ideas about improving the world. He was also interested in challenging himself to see if he could effectively communicate his ideas in another language.

Mr. Hilaire is one year from completing his degree in Actuarial Sciences from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). In the future, he hopes to be able to travel the world to better understand different people and contribute to the advancement of society.

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