The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has announced three winners of the first National Letter Writing Contest, held with the theme of “Writing a letter to an influential person about why and how to take action on climate change “.

First prize went to Seng Eric of World International School Cambodia (WISC), based in Phnom Penh. First runner-up is Meng Sandona of CIA First International School, also located in the capital. The second runner-up is San Moniroth of Hun Sen High School in Kampong Cham town and province.

The ministry sent out a letter in April to announce the writing contest for students aged 9-15.

“The goal of the contest was to let the participants show off their creativity and writing talent and promote a better understanding of Cambodia’s postal services and how to use them,” it said.

Participating students were asked to write a letter in Khmer or English that was no more than 800 words or about two pages in length and send it along with their registration forms via the ministry’s Registered Mail.

According to the ministry, a total of 63 candidates registered for the contest and the committee first selected the 10 best essays and then evaluated them further and interviewed the students in order to select the top three winners.

“Through the second phase, via face-to-face interviews about the meaning of the candidate’s letters, the committee was then able to select the winners,” it said.

Lok Darith, an official at the ministry’s General Department of Post and the coordinator of the contest, told The Post on May 2 that the first prize winner, Eric, would also represent Cambodia in an international contest organised by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) – a specialised UN agency that coordinates postal policies among member states, in addition to the worldwide postal system.

Between May 1-5, the ministry will send the letters written by Eric in both Khmer and English through the Cambodia Post to the Switzerland- based UPU.

“[Eric] wrote in English so before we take it to the UPU we will translate it into Khmer as well. So we’ll send two letters – one in Khmer and another in English,” he said.

He said the winning letter would not be published until the end of the international contest. The awards have not been conferred to the winners as yet, but a ceremony will be organised soon.

In the near future, Eric’s letter will also be shown at an exhibition at the ministry.

The WISC board of directors said they were excited to congratulate Eric, their student who won first place and whose talent and ingenuity were the pride of the school.

“The school strongly believes that we are putting our students in an advantageous position to serve society and their family and become great human resources that will contribute to the development of our entire nation in the future,” it said in a Facebook post on May 1.