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500 Teens Submit Essays On Cultural Intolerance, How to Create Global Understanding

Los Angeles, CA, July 16, 2003 - The Daniel Pearl Foundation and teen engagement website YouthNOISE today announced the winners of the first Spirit of Daniel Pearl Youth Writing Contest. Developed in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan last year, the contest is designed to engage youths and promote greater understanding across cultural divides. Teens were asked, "How has Danny's story or some personal experience with intolerance or cultural hatred affected you? What should be done to promote respect and acceptance?"

Over 500 students nationwide responded with original, thought-provoking essays about intolerance or prejudice and ways to encourage respect and acceptance. The essays were of such a high caliber that two winners tied for the second runner up prize. The winners are:

Julia Carney, 17, Boston, Massachusetts -- Grand Prize, Sony laptop computer
Maoz Brown, 18, Kendall Park, NJ -- First Runner Up, $400
Erika Layman, 17, San Luis Obispo, CA and Carrie Lones, 13, Hollis, NH -- Second Runner Up, $200

"We were inspired by these essays and their messages of respect and action," said Michelle Pearl of the Daniel Pearl Foundation. "These young people are making a difference in their communities and each one is helping to eradicate the ignorance and hatred that took Danny's life. It is critical that we listen to young people who offer creative solutions to the hate they see around them and encourage them to write."

"The winning essays show a deep understanding of the nuances of cultural intolerance and demonstrate how they are personally stepping up to positively address cultural intolerance in their communities," says Hilary Johnson, Managing Director of YouthNOISE. "That kind of 'do-it-yourself' behavior should be commended and emulated by both young people and adults alike."

The Daniel Pearl Foundation donated the prize money for the writing contest and Sony Pictures Entertainment donated a lap top computer for the grand prize winner. Judges included representatives from the Daniel Pearl Foundation and YouthNOISE, as well as Stanford University, the Knight Fellowship Program, the Wall Street Journal, Scholastic Press, the Anti-Defamation League and Seeds of Peace. To view the winning entries, log on to www.youthnoise.com.

The writing contest was part of an online campaign which included content on cross-cultural understanding and the story of Danny's life, as well as a click-to-give program to help send a Middle Eastern teenager to the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine. The Click for Peace campaign met its goal of 50,000 clicks.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation (www.danielpearl.org), was formed in 2002 in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl to further the ideals that inspired his life and work. The foundation's mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications. The Daniel Pearl Foundation's youth writing and arts programs are generously supported by the Skirball Foundation.

YouthNOISE (www.youthnoise.com) is a non-profit, online global youth engagement initiative of Save the Children created to inspire, connect and empower teens to help young people around the world.

Media Contact:
Kate Weiss
Solomon McCown & Company
[email protected]

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