The Environmental Poetry Competition organised by Human Dynamics to coincide with the COP-22 UN Climate Change conference in Marrakesh in early November was more successful than anticipated. The poems entered into the competition were of exceptional quality, and the decision- made in collaboration with Human Dynamics staff and the British Poet Jenny Lewis - was a diffcult one.
The first prize was awarded to 24 year old Rachid Ennassiri, a technician in a sustainable energy NGO, who is of Tamazight Berber heritage. His poem was originally written in this Berber dialect, but was submitted to the competition in French, with the title ‘La Pluie’ (The Rain). Rachid was presented with his award by Human Dynamics strategic advisor Judith Gebetsroithner at the side event for our CES-MED project at COP-22 on the 7th of November.
He gave a reading of his poem in the original berber language and in French. An English translation was read by Udith Dematagoda, corporate communications for Human Dynamics. Rachid gave a brief speech on his inspiration for the piece:
‘ "Anzar", "La Pluie", "The Rain" is a tribute to the women, girls and children who make 10km trips or more to fetch a few bottles of water, a tribute to all remote villages in Morocco, and inevitably to all the villages around the world that are suffering from water scarcity. I am humbly proud of this award, proud of my language and my Tamazight identity.’
The young poet was later congratulated by several dignataries present at the COP, including Austrian ambassador to Morroco Dr. Anton Kozusnick, head of the EU Delegation to Morroco Ambassador Rupert Joy, and the Austrian Minister for the Environment Andrä Rupprechter (pictured above). As part of his prize, Rachid shall be coming to Vienna for a one-week residency in early December.
The second prize was awarded to 18 year old Wafa Bassiouni, a precocious architecture student from Marrakesh. She impressed judges with her use of the classical Arabic verse structure, translated here into English by Human Dynamics research analyst Alexandra Laban, in the discussion of the contemporary problem of climate change. The third prize was awarded to Amal Samli, an English Teacher and writer also from Marrakesh.